Jim Kaat might be 79-years-old, but the former big-league pitcher and current broadcaster certainly isn’t stuck in his ways when it comes to the sport. And it’s cleared he’s concerned about baseball’s future.
Kaat told The Athletic that baseball’s pace of play rules aren’t enough and said his plan to improve the sport would be to reduce games to seven innings. “It’s become a home run derby, with more strikeouts,” Kaat said. “The fans and players deserve better.”
Kaat’s primary points about the change include the fact it would restore the importance of starting pitchers, with the starter going five and then the setup man and closer taking over; the size of pitching staffs could be reduced (clearly this has no chance of flying with the union); and teams could bring back four-man starting rotations.
Kaat, who began his playing career in 1959, played for the Twins into the 1973 season and retired after the 1983 season, isn’t interested in hearing complaints about what this would do to the record books.
“To me, the record book has been distorted over the years in so many ways — expansion, the DH, 13-man pitching staffs, steroids, can’t brush hitters off the plate, livelier bats, hitters diving into the ball,” said Kaat, who still works games for MLB Network. “Craig Kimbrel just got his 300th save. That’s a great accomplishment. But 300 saves when Kimbrel does it is a lot different than when Bruce Sutter did it.”
Kaat, by the way, will make his regular appearance with Patrick Reusse on “The Ride” at 5 p.m. Tuesday.