ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that an announcement is coming Thursday on a deal between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association that will bring some substantial changes.
For the real games and roster management, the main changes involve a single July 31 trade deadline that will be implemented for the 2019 season, and a three-batter minimum for pitchers and roster expansion in the 2020 season (you can read much more about those details in Passan’s article at ESPN.Com).
But there are a couple of big changes in an attempt to bring more appeal to the MLB All-Star Game.
There reportedly will be an All-Star Game Election Day in which the top-three vote-getters at each position (in each league) are part of a one-day election to determine the starters. Passan offered more details on the All-Star Game Election Day when it was being rumored as a possibility last week:
Under the proposed plan, the standard online voting would take place starting this year. Upon its completion, the top three vote-getters at each position in each league would be on the ballot on Election Day, and whichever players received the most votes on that single day would determine the All-Star starters, according to sources.
Additionally, there will be $2.5 million in prize money for the Home Run Derby, with $1 million going to the winner.
It will culminate in an All-Star week that includes a Home Run Derby with $2.5 million in prize money, including $1 million for the winner, according to sources.
That’s a particularly exciting addition and provides incentive for players to participate in the Home Run Derby that may have otherwise passed on the event. It can be an exhausting event (especially if the player keeps advancing), and some players have concerns about the event — trying to launch massive dingers — messing with their swing (with the second half of the season to follow the All-Star break).
But with $1 million in play? That prize may outweigh the hitters’ concerns, and perhaps the Home Run Derby can now feature the ideal collection of MLB’s sluggers.