Single trade deadline among Major League Baseball rule changes

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The changes could be implemented in 2019 if the two sides announce an agreement as soon as Thursday.

There will be only one trade deadline, July 31. Players can still be put on waivers and claimed in August, but all trades must be done before the July 31 deadline.

Inning breaks will be reduced from 2:05 to 2:00 in local games and 2:25 to 2:00 in national games. These cuts will be subject to discussions with MLB's broadcast partners.

In the case of mound visits, which were capped for the first time past year at six, this will continue to force decisions about the wisdom of early-game trips to the mound.

Major League Baseball on Thursday announced a series of new rule changes that might end up having a pretty profound impact on the sport moving forward, including a rule that will put even more emphasis on the July 31 trade deadline and All-Star voting. Fans will vote online for All-Star starters, and the top three vote-getters will take part in a one-day election, which could lead to a bevy of clever electioneering, social media engagement and displays of personality players rarely show. Further details on the new fan voting format will be announced in April.

All-Star bonus payments will be given to the top three vote-getters at each position in each League during the Primary Round (top six for outfielders). The minimum number of active players will increase from 24 to 25.

Both teams in the All-Star game will start the 10th inning with a runner on second base. Major League Baseball is hoping, in particular, this will lead to creative social media campaigns that foster interest in the players and the game.

In the new MLB-MLBPA deal, the victor of the Home Run Derby will receive $1 million, as part of a $2.5 million purse to be split among competitors.

Additionally, MLB and the MLBPA will form a joint committee to study other potential changes. The postseason also will see the one-player increase. Clubs can add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

It does seem like the September roster decrease is a little pointless with the three batter rule for pitchers but that's its own debate. Each player who is not a pitcher must be designated a position before his first day on the active roster. Exceptions include incapacitating injury or illness. Similarly, the minimum period that optioned pitchers must remain in the minors will increase from 10 to 15 days.

There will be a cap on the number of pitchers that teams are allowed to carry on the active roster, that will be determined by the joint committee. Position players will be allowed to pitch only in extra innings or when their team is ahead or behind by more than seven runs.

The changes for the 2019 season won't be as drastic. Having an election day to vote for the All-Star team is much different than snagging a ballot at the ballpark and punching a hole next to your favorite player.

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