Yankees talk about new pace of play rules for 2018

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 11: Masahiro Tanaka
TAMPA, FL - MARCH 11: Masahiro Tanaka /

On Monday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred officially announced the new pace of play initiatives for the 2018 season. Here’s what a few members of the Yankees had to say about it.

I think I finally understand the truth as to why Joe Girardi isn’t returning to the Yankees dugout for his 11th season (sarcasm alert). In 2016, Girardi made the most pitching changes of any manager in all of MLB.

And although Grantland.com calculated that Girardi was the second-most successful bullpen manager from 2012-2015, behind only Bud Black, it’s clear to see that the amount of times mound visits will be permitted in the upcoming season — six — would have made ol’ Joe batty.

That’s right, for every nine innings of play, six mound visits will be allowed. That includes managers, pitching coaches and catchers waddling their way towards the rubber.

One caveat is that infielders can communicate with the pitcher in between batters if it doesn’t intrude on the ordinary course of play and neither party deviates from their position on the field.

Is there some sort of silent alarm that’s triggered if Didi Gregorius strays too far his shortstop position?

For every extra-inning of play, both teams will be issued one-extra visit. Should the club use all of its mound visits before the completion of the game, it’s then up to the discretion of the home plate umpire to grant the catcher an exemption for things such as a pitch cross-up or injury.

Knowing Girardi and his binder, he’d likely be out of visits by the fifth inning. Then what, the Yankees would be forced to relay messages to their pitchers via Apple Watch?

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Yeah, I’m talking to you, Red Sox fans.

Luckily, Commissioner Manfred decided against a pitch-clock (with enough coaxing from the MLBPA), though depending on how quickly games are sped up in ’18, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this initiative brought back sometime in the near future.

Another significant change coming soon is in-between innings; the pitcher will be instructed to toss his final warmup pitch once the timer strikes 20 seconds. The shooter then has 15 seconds to release his final pitch or risk not being allowed to do so. No longer will a pitcher definitively get eight warmup tosses. Though, he can throw as many as he’d like before the final 20 seconds begin.

As for the on-deck batter, he will be announced at the 20-second mark and must enter the batter’s box before the timer expires.

So many technicalities!

If this keeps up, we’re going to have to tell Little Leaguers that they can’t throw the ball around the infield prior to each new inning.

Shortly after the new rules were released, the New York Post caught up with a few members of the Yankees to gauge their feelings on the alterations.

Manager Aaron Boone took the high road, saying that the club will adjust to the pace of play.

"“We will be ready. I won’t go too far down into specifics on how we will do it. That’s all part of our job, to prepare Gary and all our players. We have to make adjustments and that is what major league athletes have to do all the time. … It’s a new way of doing things.”"

Pitching coach and resident curmudgeon Larry Rothschild was understandably less than pleased about the changes, calling them “a major adjustment.”

"“It impacts your bunt plays,” Rothschild said. “It impacts when runners are given signs. … The hard part is that in spring training, you are not going to have it impacted so much because there are so many pitching changes.”"

Next: Spring Training notes, day one

I’m sure Boone will get his players and coaches on the same page prior to Opening Day because there’s no point in fighting the powers that be.

Hopefully, the pace of play changes ends here. If not, we may see technical fouls, two free throws, half the distance to the goal and a penalty box implemented by 2019.