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A look at the MLB rule changes

The Dodgers are no strangers to trying to work the rules to their advantage, how might the new changes affect them

T-Mobile Home Run Derby Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

On Thursday, Major League Baseball and the Major League Players Association announced rule changes for the upcoming 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Today I will go over two of the rule changes that may impact the Dodgers and their players. One has little to no impact on their journey to try and win a seventh NL West division title in a row and one could have a slightly greater impact on that journey.

Home Run Derby winner to receive $1 million prize

You may not have known that there was a prize money pool for the Home Run Derby. The event that has been staged on the night before the All-Star Game had a prize money pool of $525,000 in 2018 with $125,000 going to the winner Bryce Harper.

That pool was supposed to increase to $725,000 for the 2019 Home Run Derby with the winner getting $150,000.

Now, the winner will receive $1 million and the total pool will jump to $2.5 million.

While some of the entrants, like Bryce Harper, were already making a nice annual salary, many were pre-arbitration eligible and the top prize money would be nearly double their minimum salary.

While no Dodger has ever won the Home Run Derby, the Dodgers have had five straight seasons with one of their fairly new players in the event.

In 2014, second year player Yasiel Puig was eliminated in the first round. The following year, in his first full season, Joc Pederson reached the final round.

The 2016 National League Rookie of the Year Corey Seager fell one home run short and lost to Mark Trumbo in the first round. The 2017 National Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger also was in the event in his first season, Bellinger lost to the eventual winner Aaron Judge in the second round.

Max Muncy became the fifth straight Dodger to be in the last five Home Run Derbies in the 2018 event at Nationals Park in Washington DC. Muncy, who had been called up in mid-April, was playing in what would complete his second pre-arbitration season, also lost to the eventual winner, Bryce Harper, in the second round of the event.

While it could be possible for one of the four current Dodgers who have participated in the event make a second appearance in the Home Run Derby in 2019, my guess is that the next Dodger in the event will be in 2020 when the All-Star Game returns to Dodger Stadium for the first time in 40 years.

One trade deadline to be implemented in 2019

Until the upcoming 2019 season, there were two trade deadlines during the major league regular season. One was the July 31st trade deadline that was also called the non-waiver trade deadline. The non-waiver part meant that teams did not have to pre-clear the players through waivers before dealing them.

After the July 31st deadline, there was the waiver trade period. Starting on August 1st, a trade made during this part of the season had to consist of players who had either cleared waivers or were not on the 40-man roster. This period continued through the end of the season with players acquired after August 31st not eligible for postseason play.

This has now been changed, the joint announcement by MLB and the MLB Players Association, click here, was pretty succinct in their wording of the new rule, “The trade deadline will remain July 31st; however, trade waivers will be eliminated. Players may be placed and claimed on outright waivers after July 31st, but players may not be traded after that date.”

There was nothing announced as to playoff eligibility changing with that new deadline.

The Dodgers have made three August trades in the last two seasons that had varying effects on their season.

On August 19, 2017, the Dodgers received outfielder Curtis Granderson from the New York Mets for right-handed pitcher Jacob Rhame.

On August 31, 2018, the Dodgers made two trades, the Dodgers received infielder David Freese from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for infielder Jesus Valdez and the second trade consisted of the Dodgers receiving right-handed pitcher Ryan Madson from the Washington Nationals in exchange for right-handed pitcher Andrew Istler.

Certainly one of the early moves by the current ownership was the blockbuster trade completed on August 25, 2012 when the Dodgers traded four players, first baseman James Loney, outfielder Jerry Sands and right-handed pitchers Allen Webster and Ruby De La Rosa to the Boston Red Sox for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, right-handed pitcher Josh Beckett, outfielder Carl Crawford and utility player Nick Punto. The Dodgers also took on more than $250 million in salary, the last of which was part of the Dodgers trade to the Reds where they took on Homer Bailey’s 2019 salary.

With only one trade deadline, teams will have to think about making earlier moves, for instance, last year, at the end of April, the Dodgers knew that Corey Seager was out for the rest of the season. They tried to solve the problem internally for two months before acquiring Manny Machado during the All-Star break.

When you look at all of the recent trades the Dodgers have made after the non-waiver trade deadline, few have had a significant impact on the rest of season like the ones made prior to or on July 31st.

Right now, we don’t know how all thirty major league teams will treat this one trade deadline season but it is unlikely they will all view it the same way. Will a significant player be dealt in May or early June? Will this increase “tanking?”

Certainly now players know that there is just one deadline where they have to worry about being traded to another team in the regular season. And that will make their lives more stable to the extent they can be when you play a professional sport.

Finally, below is a list the trades the Dodgers have made in August and September from 2012 through the 2016 season, you’ll see some highlights, lowlights and no-lights among them.

August 3, 2012 - Right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for right-handed pitcher Ryan O’Sullivan

August 31, 2013 - Infielder Michael Young and cash considerations from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for left-handed pitcher Rob Rasmussen.

August 7, 2014 - Right-hander pitcher Roberto Hernandez from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for right-handed pitcher Victor Arano and infielder Jesmuel Valentin

August 9, 2014 - RIght-handed pitcher Kevin Correia from the Minnesota Twins for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

August 19, 2015 - Infielder Chase Utley from the Philadelphia Phillies for infielder Darnell Sweeney and right-handed pitcher John Richy.

August 31, 2015 - Outfielder Justin Ruggiano from the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

August 31, 2015 - Outfielder Chris Heisey from the Toronto Blue Jays for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

September 13, 2015 - Catcher Jack Murphy from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for infielder Darwin Barney.

August 25, 2016 - Catcher Carlos Ruiz and cash considerations from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for catcher A.J. Ellis and right-handed pitcher Tommy Bergjans.