With the most anticipated Opening Day since probably 2009 looming, the Philadelphia Phillies this week pared down the roster. They also announced this year’s Wall Of Fame nominee. Before setting up the opening series which starts on Thursday, I will opine on the new rules announced by MLB to take effect in 2019 & 2020.
Between Thursday and Sunday the Phillies made 23 transactions:
Altherr, Kingery, Rodriguez, and Williams would seem to be assured of a spot, and the Phils are still giving lip service at least to a competition at 3B between Kingery and Maikel Franco.
The Phillies play their last ST game today, and we can expect those final cuts afterwards or tomorrow. They will also peruse the other team’s cuts to see if any of them fit their plans.
2019 Phillies Wall Of Fame: Bobby Abreu
On Wednesday the Phillies announced that RF Bobby Abreu (1998-2006) will be this season’s Wall Of Fame inductee in a ceremony on Saturday 8/3/19 as part of the Alumni Weekend.
Abreu was selected to two NL All-Star teams (2004-05) one of which was by the extra man fan balloting. Phillies fans also selected him to the All Veterans Stadium team as a RF in 2003. In ’05 he was the first ever Phil to win the HR Derby.
“Bobby Abreu was one of the most consistent offensive players of his generation,” said David Buck, Phillies Executive Vice President. “His power and speed, combined with his patience at the plate, probably put him ahead of his time in Major League Baseball.”
He is top ten in the Phillies record book in the following categories: BB, OPS, and OBP (3rd) GS (tie 3rd), 2B and SF (4th), SLG (5th), SB (7th), RBI and XBH (8th), BA (9th), R, total bases (10th). He also won a Gold Glove (2005) and Silver Slugger Award (2004), while here.
Though you all know 1980 NLCS MVP Manny Trillo was my top choice, Abreu was #2 and well worthy of this honor.
Always modest, Abru noted his appreciation of then Phillies GM Ed Wade who traded for Abreu in November ’97.
“He believed in me,” Abreu said. “Ed, if you’re listening to this, thank you very much.”
MLB Proposed Rules Changes:
Below are the rules changes that will be enforced this season and next, per MLB.Com’s Anthony Castrovince. After each year’s changes will be my comments.
CHANGES EFFECTIVE IN 2019
Inning breaks: Subject to discussions with broadcast partners, inning breaks will be reduced from 2:05 to 2:00 in local games and from 2:25 to 2:00 in national games. The Commissioner’s Office retains the right to further reduce the breaks to 1:55 in local and national games for the start of the 2020 season.
Trade Deadline: The waiver trade period will be eliminated. The July 31 Trade Deadline will be the only deadline. Players may still be placed and claimed on outright waivers after July 31, but trades will no longer be permitted after that date.
Mound visits: The maximum number of mound visits per team will be reduced from six to five per game. MLB had instituted an initial mound-visit limitation prior to the 2018 season.
Additionally, MLB and the MLBPA will form a joint committee to study other potential rule changes.
All of the above rules make sense, and the first and third rules should help the pace of the game incrementally at least.
As for the trade deadline, I agree that one deadline is a very good idea. Few understood the waiver rules outside of the team FO’s, and this alleviates some of the trade anxieties that do not end with the deadline. One caveat is that I would rather see the deadline moved to the middle of August when more teams are out of the races. I have always felt the 7/31 deadline was too early.
CHANGES EFFECTIVE IN 2020
Active roster provisions: The roster size from Opening Day through Aug. 31 will increase from 25 to 26 (with the minimum number of active players rising from 24 to 25, and roster sizes for doubleheaders rising from 26 to 27).
The 40-man active roster for September will be eliminated. From Sept. 1 through the end of the regular season, all clubs will carry 28 players.
Furthermore, the number of pitchers a club can carry on the active roster will be capped at a certain number, to be decided by the aforementioned joint committee. To adhere to that rule, clubs will have to designate each of their players as either a pitcher or a position player prior to each player’s first day on the active roster for a given season. That designation cannot change for the remainder of the season. Position players will not be allowed to pitch except in the following scenarios:
• They are designated as a “Two-Way Player.” A player can only qualify for this designation if he accrues at least 20 Major League innings pitched and at least 20 Major League games started as a position player or designated hitter (with at least three plate appearances in each of those games) in either the current or the prior season.
• Extra innings.
• In any game in which his team is losing or winning by more than six runs when he enters as a pitcher.
Three-batter minimum for pitchers: Rule 5.10(g) will be amended to require that starting pitchers and relief pitchers must pitch to either a minimum of three batters or to the end of a half-inning, with exceptions for incapacitating injury or illness. This will effectively end the so-called “LOOGY” (left-handed one-out guy) and other specialist roles in which pitchers are brought in for one very specific matchup.
Injured list: The minimum time a player spends on the injured list will be increased back to 15 days from 10, and the minimum assignment period of pitchers who are optionally assigned to the minors will increase from 10 days to 15. MLB had reduced the minimum injured list period to 10 days prior to the 2017 season to reduce the incentive for teams to play shorthanded or for players having to play at less than full strength. However, teams manipulated the rule change to rotate relievers on and off their active rosters, thereby maintaining a full stash of rested arms, which resulted in more pitching changes.
First it is well known by any of my followers that I despise September call-up time, especially when it came to the overuse of pitchers because they can be used, so I am in total favor of the 28 man roster. I am also OK with the 26 for the regular season, as long as the number of pitchers on the roster is capped in some way.
I also have no problem with the three-batter minimum, but MLB needs to make it a lot clearer that this is negated by the end of an inning, and how they will make sure the injury/illness provision is not being abused. It was pretty obvious by reading on-line comments after this was announced that many people were not clear on these points.
The day we have been waiting for is only three days away as the Phillies, along with all of MLB*, will have their opener on Thursday 3/28/19 at 3:05, against the Atlanta Braves, broadcast here on NBC10.
* The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics have already played two “real” games in Japan.*
The Phillies have all three starters set, while the Braves only have the opener at this posting:
** Braves Pitchers for Saturday and Sunday updated 3/26/19 **
Phillies ICYMI Monday is dead – Long Live Phillies Phriday Phil-Ins
Since the season starts on Thursday, this will be the last Phillies ICYMI Monday post of the off-season. I will continue with my Friday wrap-ups of the weekday games, AKA Phillies Phriday Phil-Ins, and my colleague Seamus Killeen will be back with his weekend wraps as well as a look at the week in the NL East. I hope to feature at least one game a week for live tweeting as @pattisonave, and a recap to follow.
We are always open to more people who love the team and feel like they have a want or need to express themselves in a platform like this so we can do more coverage of individual games and series, as well as features about the team. Contact me on twitter @brett5355, if interested.
We look forward to a very exciting season and would love to have you all along with us for the ride.
Though I was born a few blocks from what was to be the NY Worlds Fair/Shea Stadium/Forrest Hills Complex, my parents saved me from being a NY fan by moving to Elkins Park in 1955, when I was 6 months old. I have been living and dying w/ Philly sports teams ever since. Now over 60 , I bring an older, but hopefully not stodgy, spin to this blog. By day I am a mild mannered controller/IT guy for a family business, but by night you will either find me @ CBP at least 17 games a season, and most other nights yelling at my tv as if they can hear me. Though I attend many other local sports, my main love has always been baseball, and my focus here is the Phillies, but I am also part of the team covering the Philadelphia Union.