WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Commissioner Rob Manfred plans to continue dialogue with the Major League Baseball Players Association and its executive director, Tony Clark, about any potential rules changes beyond 2017.Speaking on Tuesday before the opening of the new Spring Training home for the Nationals and Astros, the Ballpark
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Commissioner Rob Manfred plans to continue dialogue with the Major League Baseball Players Association and its executive director, Tony Clark, about any potential rules changes beyond 2017.
Speaking on Tuesday before the opening of the new Spring Training home for the Nationals and Astros, the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, Manfred said he and Clark are expecting to meet in the coming weeks, along with a group of players, to discuss any potential adjustments.
The two sides have already agreed to eliminate throwing pitches for an intentional walk during the 2017 season, and MLB is in the process of circulating the rule to all 30 clubs. That process should be finished shortly, according to Manfred, and once complete, managers could begin utilizing an "automatic" intentional walk in Spring Training.
Manfred also hinted at some additional changes that could be made to the replay-review system before Opening Day with the hopes of increasing pace of play, although he did not go into specifics.
"How long you can be in the booth, how long do you have to challenge, those sorts of issues," Manfred said. "We'll have something on that ready for Opening Day. There could be a limit on the booth and the manager's challenge. We're still having conversations with the clubs."
Although Manfred said at Cactus League Media Day last week that MLB was within its collectively bargained rights to impose certain rule changes for 2018 if the players' union was unwilling to negotiate, he emphasized Tuesday that his preference is to find a consensus that pleases both sides.
"We want an agreement with the players," Manfred said. "That's what works best when we're dealing with something between the white lines.
"We're intent on pursuing the process through, and getting ourselves an agreement with them on a set of changes that makes sense for the game."
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.