As initially reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have agreed to a few changes for the coming season. The rules have a varying degree of permanence ranging from a few weeks to five years and are mostly innocuous, but one in particular is sure to piss a lot of people off. That would be the ghost runner, an extra inning tradition unlike any other.
The automatic runner on second in extras will be back for 2022 only as a way to hasten the conclusion of games in a season that will again see more doubleheaders due to the compressed schedule. Purists can take solace in the fact that both halves of those twin bills will be scheduled for a full nine innings.
The two sides also agreed to expand rosters to 28 through May 1 in order to make up for a truncated spring training, which seems like a pretty easy one to embrace.
Only the Shohei Ohtani rule will remain in place throughout the duration of the CBA since the DH is now universal. It’s unlikely that anyone other than the Angels superstar will be able to take advantage of it, though his new teammate, Michael Lorenzen, might try. Under this new rule, a starting pitcher who is also in the lineup as a hitter can remain as the DH even if he is lifted from his start.
That could give the Angels a bit of an advantage in games Ohtani starts, but I’d like to think it might encourage more two-way players in the future. Maybe the Cubs should get James Triantos back on the mound so he can utilize that mid-90s fastball in addition to his bat.