Dodgers Team News

MLB, Players Working on New Position Player Pitching Rules

Prior to the 2020 season, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed on a range of minor rule changes. Most of those got postponed by the pandemic, and they’ve been implemented at different times over the last couple years.

One of those rule changes was limitations on when a position player would be allowed to pitch in a game. Beginning in 2022, a team had to be ahead or behind by at least six runs in order to bring in a position player before extra innings. As you might recall, the Dodgers and Dave Roberts got burned by this rule when they attempted to bring in Zach McKinstry to pitch with a five-run deficit.

Well, even with the strict rules on when position players could pitch, the number of PPPs did not go down. In fact, it was the highest it’s ever been in 2022. It’s almost as if, in an entirely predictable fashion, managers became more likely to use position players on the mound once there was a specific rule about when they were allowed to.

So now the league and the union are talking about adjusting the rule again, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN.

Teams will be more limited in when they can pitch a position player. The previous rule allowed them to use one when up or down by six or more runs, but the sides are discussing a tweak in which the leading team would have to be up by as many as 10 or more while the trailing team would have to be down by eight or more in order to pitch a position player. The league and players are finalizing the new rule.

Position players pitching are better than some proposed solutions, including just ending games that get out of hand. But the PPP charm has definitely worn off — it was fun when it was rare, but now it’s happening nearly every day. It’s more fun the way the Dodgers usually do it, with a big lead rather than a big deficit, but you’d have to imagine the opposing fans got tired of watching Hanser Alberto come in to close out a 10-run game.

Will this new rule solve the problem? Probably not, but we’ll see.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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