MLB seeks to increase DL, option time

NEW YORK (AP) — A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that Major League Baseball has proposed going back to a 15-day disabled list and increasing the time optioned players usually must spend in the minor leagues. The moves are aimed at reducing the use of relief pitchers and reviving offense.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the plans were not publicly announced.

The minimum length of time an injured player spends on the disabled list was cut from 15 days to 10 in 2016 as part of baseball’s new labor contract. As a result, DL placements rose from 563 in 2016 to 702 in 2017 and then again to 737 last year, the commissioner’s office said.

Advanced analytics have shown team executives that starting pitchers are less successful the third time through the batting order. Increased DL and minor league option use has led to a strategy of teams rotating their middle relievers with minor league affiliates in order to have more available pitchers each day.

As part of the plan, a player optioned would have to spend at least 15 days in the minor leagues, up from 10. That limit has been waived when a player is recalled to replace someone going on the DL.


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