LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Major League Baseball intends to outlaw home-plate collisions for the 2014 season as long as a new rule currently being drafted is approved by the Players Association.
"I think ultimately what we want to do is change the culture of acceptance that these plays are ordinary and routine and an accepted part of the game," said Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, who also serves as chairman of MLB's rules committee. "That the costs associated in terms of health and injury no longer warrant the status quo."
Alderson heard from a handful of managers during yesterday's meeting, including Yankees manager Joe Girardi, and the reaction was favorable. The expectation is that the union will support the rule change for this year. But if not, MLB can unilaterally ban collisions for the 2015 season.
There are more details to be worked out, such as how this rule will be enforced, and what the punishment might be. Not only would safe and out calls be affected, but intentionally running over the catcher may result in ejections, suspensions and fines. "Frankly the kinds of plays that we're trying to eliminate, we haven't finely determined," Alderson said. "But what I would expect to put together 100 of these plays and identify which ones we want to continue to allow and others that we want to prohibit and draft a rule accordingly."
Many believe the change is necessary to protect the players, especially in this time of better concussion awareness, but other old-school types may be resistant. Shortly after Wednesday's announcement, Pete Rose -- the player who ended Ray Fosse's career by bowling him over to end the 1970 All-Star Game -- quickly voiced his objection.
"What are they going to do next -- you can't break up a double play?" Rose told The Associated Press. "You're not allowed to pitch inside. The hitters wear more armor than the Humvees in Afghanistan. Now you're not allowed to be safe at home plate? What's the game coming to?"
Hot stove activity
Oakland sent lefthander Jerry Blevins to the Nationals for minor-league outfielder Billy Burns, the Athletics' fifth trade in 10 days. Blevins was 5-0 with a 3.15 ERA in a career-high 67 games this year.
The Pirates and righthander Charlie Morton agreed on a three-year, $21-million deal. The 30-year-old Morton went 7-4 with a 3.26 ERA in 20 starts for the Pirates in 2013.
The Pirates have reached a deal with righthanded pitcher Edinson Volquez on a one-year contract for $5 million. The 30-year-old Volquez went 9-12 with a 5.71 ERA in 2013 while splitting time with the Padres and Dodgers. The deal is pending a physical.
Jerry Hairston Jr. is retiring after spending the past two seasons with the Dodgers. The 37-year-old utilityman hit .211 this year with two homers and 22 RBIs in 204 at-bats. -- AP