LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Major League Baseball plans to eliminate home plate collisions, possibly as soon as next season but no later than by 2015.
New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, chairman of the rules committee, made the announcement Wednesday at the winter meetings. Player safety and concern over concussions were major factors in the decision.
Ultimately what we want to do is change the culture of acceptance that these plays are ordinary and routine and an accepted part of the game, Alderson said.
Alderson said wording of the rules change will be presented to owners for approval at their Jan. 16 meeting in Paradise Valley, Ariz.
The exact language and how exactly the rule will be enforced is subject to final determination, he said. We’re going to do fairly extensive review of the types of plays that occur at home plate to determine which we’re going to find acceptable and which are going to be prohibited.
Approval of the players’ union is needed for the rules change to be effective for 2014.
But drafting the rule figures to be complicated.
Does it include at every base or just home plate? Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. What’s considered blocking the plate and how do you define all of it?
The NCAA instituted a rule on collisions for the 2011 season, saying contact above the waist that was initiated by the base runner shall not be judged as an attempt to reach the base or plate. The umpire can call the runner out and can eject the player if contact is determined to be malicious or flagrant.
The actual detail, frankly the kinds of plays that we’re trying to eliminate, we haven’t finely determined, Alderson said.
Around the leagues
A person familiar with the deal told the Associated Press that 18-game winner Bartolo Colon and the New York Mets agreed to a two-year, $20 million contract. Detroit and outfielder Rajai Davis agreed to terms on a two-year contract worth $9-10 million. Pittsburgh and pitcher Charlie Morton agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract. The deal includes a 2017 club option for $9.5 million.
Dave Stewart, agent for Matt Kemp, said the Dodgers are not trading the All-Star outfielder. Jerry Hairston Jr. announced his retirement after 16 seasons spent with nine teams. Hairston has a .257 career average with 70 homers, 420 RBI and 147 steals. Oakland sent left-hander Jerry Blevins to Washington for minor league outfielder Billy Burns.
St. Louis signed right-hander Angel Castro to a one-year contract. Pittsburgh reached a deal with right-handed pitcher Edinson Volquez on a one-year contract for $5 million. Seattle agreed to a one-year deal with Corey Hart and acquired Logan Morrison from Miami for relief pitcher Carter Capps, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
Right-hander Anthony Bass was acquired by Houston from San Diego for a player to be named or cash. Texas announcer Eric Nadel won the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in baseball broadcasting.