MLB has a lot of issues off the field, especially at the office, where it hasn’t been able to reach a deal with the union to play the 2022 season under a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
It has a couple of interesting situations on the field, too.
Some players have been vocal in their criticism of the shift.
A shift is basically when one or more fielders temporarily leave their usual positions and align in non-traditional spots to cover themselves against the hitter’s most frequent tendencies.
For example, if there is a pull-heavy slugger, the fielding team would employ four or more outfielders, usually to the hitter’s pull side.
They are common for pull-heavy hitters both in the infield and in the outfield, and it’s a way to increase the odds of the hitter making an out.
Some hitters hate the shift, like New York Yankees slugger Joey Gallo.
The Shift Is Just One Tool Of Many
A known flyball hitter, Gallo is usually shifted, and that has caused a hit on his batting average and overall offensive production.
He recently told The Athletic: “I think at some point, you have to fix the game a little bit… I don’t understand how am I supposed to hit a double or a triple when I have six guys standing in the outfield”.
Should MLB ban the shift? pic.twitter.com/yyLxNnlDK0
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) February 23, 2022
Gallo’s frustration is certainly understandable, but baseball’s rules allow teams to be somewhat flexible about their defensive alignments, so there is little to be done, in reality.
It’s a way to combat fire with fire: it may not be pretty, but the same rules apply for everybody.
In a lot of cases, most of the batters criticizing the shift play on teams that use it every now and then.
MLB may or may not be open to change, but for now, Gallo and other disgruntled sluggers will have to keep grinding to find solutions.