The Cincinnati Reds, and the rest of Major League Baseball, will be getting a pitch clock this spring. Rob Manfred, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, noted that today. Jeff Passan was the first to report this.
Manfred said he is not committing to a pitch clock in the regular season at this point, but he can unilaterally implement it. He said he wants to come to an agreement with the players. Using it in spring training does not necessarily mean MLB will do so in the regular season.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 17, 2019
Baseball has been trying to find a way to increase the action, or downtime in games for a few years. Instituting a pitch clock is one effort to try and make that happen. While this will be new to some players, anyone who has been in the Minor Leagues in the last few years has already experienced this. The pitch clock has shaved somewhere between 5-6 minutes off of games versus the few years before it was instituted at the Minor League level.
The clock will be a 20-second pitch clock. In the Minor Leagues, the clock stops once the pitcher makes their first move. That means if a runner is on, they can stay “set” for long periods of time if they so choose. The clock will also reset/restart if the pitcher chooses to step off of the mound. It’s very difficult to trigger a “penalty” of failing to meet the clock. You can simply step off of the pitching rubber and it starts over. That is, of course, assuming they implement the same rules.
With how things have been going in relations between baseball and the players, it will be interesting how this plays out. Rob Manfred has the power to make this happen without player approval. But the players would certainly like to have a say in this, and get something in return for allowing it to happen in the regular season. Going around them would probably just put more strain on the relationship between the two sides.