Rob Manfred Says MLB Is Discussing Limiting Defensive Shifts in Future

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistOctober 23, 2020

FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2020, file photo, Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred answers questions at a press conference during baseball owners meetings in Orlando, Fla. Manfred tells The Associated Press that the commissioner's office, teams and the players' association
John Raoux/Associated Press

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred's ongoing desire to keep changing the sport now has him looking at defensive shifts.

Appearing on The Dan Patrick Show (h/t USA Today's Bob Nightengale), Manfred explained there could be a limit placed on defensive shifts in the future. 

"A lot of people feel that the extreme shifting that you're talking about has changed the game in ways that are not positive and it remains a really hot topic in terms of conversation within that committee,” he said. 

Per Baseball Savant, no team shifted more during the 2020 regular season than the Los Angeles Dodgers (1,210 times in 2,168 opponent plate appearances). Twenty-eight of the 30 MLB teams used shifts on at least 405 opponent plate appearances. 

Teams have used defensive shifts for years in an attempt to create easy outs based on hitter tendencies. It's a highly-effective tool that has helped clubs improve their overall performance. 

The stats seem to indicate that teams include shifts as part of their everyday game-planning in an attempt to win games and may not agree with rules limiting the number of shifts they can use.