MLB rumors: Major rule changes to DH, trade deadline, others being proposed

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One of the most notable rule changes would be a universal DH, meaning both the American and National Leagues would use the designated hitter.

As part of a January 14 proposal to the players' union on pace of play, baseball suggested a rule requiring pitchers to face a minimum of three batters, sources told The Athletic.

A 20-second pitch clock.

MLB and its players union are discussing major rules changes that, if implemented, would dramatically affect the game on the field and off it, according to multiple reports Tuesday. The sides also could consider a study to lower the pitcher's mound in an effort to help batters.

Those include a pitch clock, reduced mound visits and adopting the minor-league extra innings rule - in which a runner begins the 10th inning on second base - during spring training and the All-Star Game. Also on the list of rules under consideration is moving away from multiple trade deadlines - now there is a non-waiver deadline in July, plus the waivers-required date a month later.

Though the proposals remain in preliminary stages, and it is unclear which if any would be implemented in 2019 - the DH rule, for example, would nearly certainly have to be pushed to future seasons, because NL teams already have largely finalized their 2019 rosters - the talks represent a significant step for a sport that has seen rising acrimony between owners and players over the slow pace of the last two free agent markets.

A three-batter minimum would be created to reduce the number of game interruptions with mound visits and pitching changes, particularly later in a game. Owners and other high-ranking team officials at the meetings will be updated on the status of those talks during Friday's general session.

National League pitchers might want to hold onto their bats for a little longer. The union proposal also included lowering a team's draft position if they don't reach a certain win total over a number of seasons.