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The Journal Gazette

Friday, November 09, 2018 1:00 am

Baseball

No consensus on rules changes

Associated Press

CARLSBAD, Calif. – Major League Baseball and its players' union likely will not decide until the eve of spring training whether to change rules in an effort to increase action on the field next year.

Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem said Thursday as the annual general managers' meetings ended that there was no consensus for change yet. More discussions will take place when owners gather next week, the union's executive board convenes in late November and major league executives go to Las Vegas for the winter meetings in mid-December.

Topics being discussed include the increased use of defensive shifts, the decrease in innings thrown by starting pitchers and technology that aids sign stealing. A possible 20-second pitch clock and alterations to rules for waivers, trade deadlines and disabled lists also are being talked about by a tradition-bound sport resistant to change.

Manfred may get new deal

Baseball owners plan to vote on a new term for Commissioner Rob Manfred, a new television contract with Fox and an agreement for in-game cut-ins with the subscription video streaming service DAZN when they meet next week in Atlanta, a person familiar with the agenda told The Associated Press.

Manfred was elected commissioner in August 2014 to succeed Bud Selig and started a five-year term the following Jan. 25. The person said Manfred's new term likely will be for five years.

Fox and Turner Broadcasting are in the midst of eight-year agreements through 2021 in which Fox has exclusive rights to the World Series and All-Star Game, splits the league championship series with Turner and shares the division series with Turner and the MLB Network.

DAZN (pronounced Da-Zone), which launched this year, has been negotiating a $300 million, three-year deal with MLB, the person said. Former ESPN president John Skipper is the chairman of DAZN's parent company.

DAZN announced an 11-fight deal last month with boxer Canelo Alvarez. DAZN, a live and on-demand service, said it is backed by Access Industries, a company founded by Leonard Blavatnik.

Ex-TinCap Smith dealt to Mariners

Speedy outfielder and leadoff hitter Mallex Smith was acquired by Seattle from Tampa Bay for catcher Mike Zunino and outfielder Guillermo Heredia as part of a five-player deal.

Smith, 25, a former Fort Wayne TinCap, stole a career-best 40 bases this year and was caught 12 times. He hit .296, tied for the major league lead with 10 triples and had 40 RBI. He is not eligible for free agency until after the 2022 season.