Former Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Kaat has offered a suggestion he believes will improve fan experience and make pitching staffs better.
"Seven is the new nine," he said.
This would allow starters to go five innings "and then turn it over to the setup man and closer" to reduce the size of pitching staffs.
Kaat's plan also includes a mandate with a maximum of 10 pitchers per staff, compared to the typical 12- or 13-man groups teams use today.
"When I broke in , there were 16 teams, eight in each league," he said. "You had basically 10 pitchers on a staff, 160 in all of the major leagues. Now you have almost 400."
Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins proposed a similar idea last year when MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince asked about ways to speed up the game.
"That's not something you'd test in spring training [or for one day]," Atkins said. "That's something you'd test over the course of a season. I understand the complexities of that. I understand why you wouldn't try that. But if it is just a test, I would love to know what the results would be at the end of that."
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has made pace of play a priority since he took over for Bud Selig in 2015. He has implemented rules limiting mound visits to six per team and added a pitch clock to reduce the amount of time pitchers take to warm up between innings, among other moves.
The average MLB game time in 2018 is three hours and six minutes, down two minutes from last year but still the third-longest in history.