The Cincinnati Reds have young pitchers that should embrace the new pace of play rules.
While most teams are fighting the new MLB pace of play rules, the Cincinnati Reds should focus on making it a part of who they are. The Reds’ pitchers are young and could use the regimen. Now the team just needs to plan for the changes.
MLB isn’t talking about the biggest change much. Instead of getting eight pitches to warm up on the mound, there will be two minutes and five seconds in between innings and pitcher changes. They add twenty seconds for national telecasts.
As weird as it may sound, every time the Reds work their pitchers, they should start the session by having the pitcher run the distance from the dugout to the mound and get warmed up in two minutes. Every other team is working on form and defense. The Reds should work on the competition that they will face during the season.
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The Reds should also run their scrimmages this way. The batter is supposed to be in the box when the clock strike zeroes. Mimicking this will get the Reds’ players ready to play under the new rules this year.
With a Gold Glove catcher, the Cincinnati Reds can take it a step further.
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There is a limit of six visits to the mound with the rules change that took three years to come to come to fruitition. There is no limit, however, to communicating from your defensive position. The Reds should come up with a list of the most common discussion points between the pitcher and other fielders.
Then the Reds should make hand signs to communicate between the pitcher and catcher or other defender. There is no pitch clock in effect, so as long as the catcher is in his defensive position, the umpire has no leverage.
It is against the spirit of what MLB is doing, but well within the letter of the new rules.
By taking this stance the Reds will create a competitive advantage for 2018 and potentially beyond. If they can master the new pace of play rules, while the other teams are complaining, the Reds can give themselves a chance to compete in 2018. It will also give the young roster things to focus on beyond the stress of self interest.
The Reds are likely a fourth or fifth place team in the ultra-competitive National League Central. A minor change in MLB rules won’t change that. The Reds, though, might as well get ready for when they become competitive.