Why A's Billy Beane doesn't like proposed three-batter minimum rule


In an effort to speed up the game, or in this case, reduce the number of pitching changes in hopes of cutting down the average time per game, MLB plans to institute the three-batter minimum rule change for the 2020 season.

Although not yet made official, the revision will be a requirement for pitchers to face "either a minimum of three batters or to the end of a half-inning," according to MLB.com.

A's vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane is not exactly on board. 

"I'm not a particular fan of that rule if they put it in, but I think -- anything when we start moving flexibility -- I just don't think it's a good idea period, but that's just my personal feelings," Beane said at the Winter Meetings last week. 

Will this affect anything? Well yes and no. If it were to go in MLB's favor, a few minutes would be shaved off a game. 

As MLB.com's Mike Petriello pointed out, the increase in relievers computes to an increase in pitching changes -- which makes sense these days -- those relievers are getting valued as the years go by.

Game-by-game, the changes don't appear to make a difference, but collectively it could make a dent. But just as the intentional walk rule was implemented, it might not make a considerable overall change.

The A's, along with every other MLB team, values depth in their pitching staff for those case-by-case scenarios which are why they staff as many relievers as they do. Beane likes the idea of having his options open and using those options as the team sees fit.

The A's recently re-signed lefty Jake Diekman to a two-year contract, which has him set to come out of the bullpen for a while as well as continuing the dominant talents of Yusmeiro Petit and Liam Hendriks.

The team said farewell to Blake Treinen who, while he remained in talks with the A's, decided to head to the Dodgers in free agency. The 2018 All-Star didn't put up even close to the numbers last season as he did in the year prior, so the goodbyes were not that difficult.

Oakland remains on the hunt for more bullpen arms.

Perhaps this new rule could impact a pitcher who might dominate in a part of his splits -- which could create something as serious as costing jobs for pitchers. But not all of them are worried about it.

"I don't mind it because I get lefties and righties out pretty evenly," Chicago White Sox reliever Evan Marshall told NBC Sports California. "It's going to affect righties that get torched by lefties and lefties that get torched by righties." 

[RELATED: Why A's fans will love prospect Buddy Reed]

Former MLB reliever Brad Ziegler sees the impact it could make on the game, however.

"I think it will speed up the game," Ziegler told NBC Sports California. "It's definitely going to hurt some players' value, though."

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