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MLB announces major rule changes for 2019

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Like it or not, the MLB is undergoing a major facelift.

The league officially approved some significant rule changes on Thursday that will become effective during the 2019 season.

In case you missed it, here is what to expect.

  • Inning Breaks: Subject to discussions with broadcast partners, inning breaks will be reduced from 2:05 to 2:00 in local games, and from 2:25 to 2:00 in national games.  (The Office of the Commissioner retains the right to reduce the inning breaks to 1:55 in local and national games for the 2020 season.)
  • Mound Visits: The maximum number of mound visits per team will be reduced from six to five.
  • Trade Deadline: The trade deadline will remain July 31st; however, trade waivers will be eliminated.  Players may be placed and claimed on outright waivers after July 31st, but players may not be traded after that date.
  • Joint Committee: MLB and the MLBPA will form a joint committee to study other potential changes.
  • All-Star Game:
    • All-Star Game fan voting will be conducted in two rounds.  During the “Primary Round,” each Club will nominate one player per eligible position (three outfielders), who will be voted on by fans.  In late June or early July, an “Election Day” will be held in which the top three vote-getters at each position in each League during the Primary Round (including the top nine outfielders) will be voted on by fans during a prescribed time period to determine the All-Star Game starters.  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).  Additionally, the prize money awarded to players on the winning All-Star team will be increased beginning with the 2019 All-Star Game.
    • Both Clubs will start the 10th inning of the All-Star Game, and each subsequent inning, with a runner on second base (re-entry substitutions allowed for runners).
    • Home Run Derby: Total player prize money for the Home Run Derby will be increased to $2.5 million.  The winner of the Home Run Derby will receive $1 million.

Baseball

White Sox ink Jose Abreu to lucrative three-year extension

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Jose Abreu is staying in the Windy City for a few more years.

The Chicago White Sox announced Monday that they have signed the All-Star first baseman to a three-year, $50 million contract extension that includes an immediate $5 million signing bonus, $11 million signing bonus in 2020, $16 million signing bonus in 2021 and a final $18 million bonus in 2022.

“From the moment he stepped into the major leagues, José Abreu has been a leader on the field and in the clubhouse,” said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn.

“He has consistently delivered run production at a historic pace, and with each passing season, his leadership role within our clubhouse – with both American-born and Latin-American players – has repeatedly grown.”

The 32-year old Cuban, who has been with the franchise since 2013, posted a .284 batting average, 33 homers, 38 doubles, 85 runs scored and an American-League best 123 RBI in 159 games during the 2019 season.

This was negotiated after Abreu accepted a $17.8 million qualifying offer, and basically replaces the agreement with a more lucrative one.

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Baseball

Yankees release injured outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, still owe him $26 million

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The Jacoby Ellsbury era in New York has mercifully come to an end.

The team announced that they have released the veteran outfielder despite still having to pay him $21 million plus an additional $5 million as part of the buyout agreement.

The 36-year old initially signed a a seven-year, $153 million contract with the Yankees in December 2013. His tenure in New York was nothing short of a disaster. For starters, a variety of injuries and a hip surgery forced him to miss 614 out of a possible 1,134 regular season games over six seasons. He hasn’t participated in an MLB game since the 2017 ALCS, which resulted in a seven-game loss to the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros.

He posted a combined .264 batting average, .710 OPS, 39 homers and 198 RBI throughout his time with the Bronx from 2014-2017.

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Baseball

Mets slugger Pete Alonso wins NL Rookie of the Year

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Well this one was a no-brainer.

As expected, MLB announced that New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso has won the 2019 National League Rookie of the Year Award.

The 24-year old, who had to earn his keep to make the opening day roster, posted a .260 batting average to go a long with a .941 OPS, an MLB rookie-record 53 homers and 120 RBI in 161 games this season.

He was also selected to his first MLB All-Star Game, and won the Home Run Derby over Toronto Blue Jays rookie phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr in July.

Alonso received 29 of 30 first-place votes to take home the honours on Monday night.

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