Bassitt sounds off on MLB rule changes

DUNEDIN, Fla. – Count Blue Jays right-hander Chris Bassitt among the early critics of Major League Baseball’s rule changes for the 2024 season.

“We’re yet again having to learn new rules,” Bassitt said Sunday. “Hopefully in 2025 we stop doing this charade.”

In an attempt to improve pace of play this year, the pitch clock will be reduced by two seconds — from 20 to 18 — with runners on base.

MLB’s competition committee also approved a widening of the runner’s lane along the first-base line and trimmed the number of mound visits from five to four.

The off-season tweaks were made after MLB implemented major changes in 2023 with the use of a pitch timer, defensive shift limits and bigger bases. The length of the average nine-inning game was trimmed by nearly 24 minutes last year to about two hours 40 minutes.

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“The fact that we’re changing rules yet again, it’s just when is it going to stop?” Bassitt said. “We just need consistency among our game and the officials are just not providing that at all. It is what it is (and) we’re adjusting to it. We did adjust to it really well and obviously the numbers show that.

“But it’s just annoying having to come in every single year and have different rules.”

The 34-year-old Bassitt, who made his big-league debut in 2014 with the Chicago White Sox, was 16-8 last year with a 3.60 earned-run average in his first year with Toronto.

“Obviously I’ve been in the league a long time and I feel like the last seven or eight years, it’s been like a different league every single year we walk in,” Bassitt said. “I look forward to the year where it’s like, ‘Hey, we did nothing from a year ago.’ That shouldn’t be too hard to do.

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“It’s just when is the game going to stop changing?”

The Blue Jays are set to kick off their pre-season schedule Saturday against the Philadelphia Phillies. The regular-season opener is scheduled for March 28 at Tampa Bay.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2024.

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