Report: MLB Discussed Letting Losing Team Use Any Hitters It Wants in 9th Inning

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 16: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hits against the Washington Nationals in the ninth inning during a game at Nationals Park on August 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Some MLB executives have discussed the idea of allowing a losing team's manager to put any hitter at the plate in the ninth inning, Rich Eisen reported on his radio show Tuesday.

According to Eisen, the proposed rule would only apply to the ninth inning, and managers would be able to designate any three hitters to start the inning:

Rich Eisen Show @RichEisenShow

One #MLB executive told @richeisen about an idea to improve excitement in the game by allowing managers to put anyone up to bat in the 9th inning if trailing. Good idea or crazy? https://t.co/IgM6Zrofer

Eisen shared a comment from the anonymous executive about the rule:

"Best argument is that no other sport has the best players sitting on the bench in the final minutes of a game. Imagine [Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James] or [New England Patriots quarterback] Tom Brady or [Pittsburgh Penguins forward] Sidney Crosby or [Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo] watching on the sideline."

MLB is taking a number of steps in order to speed up the pace of play and make baseball more engaging for the viewing audience. Most recently, the league announced teams are limited to six mound visits per game—not related to pitching changes—as well as a measure to cut down slightly on the time between innings.

Although MLB decided against implementing a pitch clock ahead of the 2018 season, that will almost certainly be on the table once again when the league wants to address the pace of play.

The idea of allowing a manager of the losing team to reshuffle the first three batters in the ninth inning will probably be too radical for serious consideration.