In an interview with the New York Daily News’ John Harper, Manfred noted that the CBA includes a provision allowing for playing-rule changes to be addressed at any time following negotiations with the Major League Baseball Players Association.
Two of the ideas Manfred is kicking around are a 20-second pitch clock and restricting the number of pitching changes.
“I went around my first year as commissioner and spoke to the players on every team in the clubhouse,” Manfred said. “One of the things I talked to them about was pace of play. I do believe our players are with us on the pace-of-play issues.”
Manfred said that pitch clocks have been a success in the minor leagues — games have been sped up and players have not complained.
When asked if he was worried that efforts to curtail pitching changes or defensive shifts might be seen as him altering the fundamental nature of the game, Manfred shot back: “The fact of the matter is the game is changing on its own. You didn’t used to see this type of activity (managers using multiple relievers to match up against hitters).”
Harper also asked Manfred about the state of the Yankees and Mets.
The commissioner said he believes it’s good for baseball when the Yankees have a championship-caliber team.
“They’re one of the iconic franchises, so it is good,” he said. “You don’t want them to win every year, obviously. You want there to be a balance. But they can be a compelling storyline in the postseason.”
Manfred said the Mets have made “amazing strides” in recent years and that general manager Sandy Alderson has done a “phenomenal job putting together a great nucleus.”