Dodgers: MLB’s new sticky stuff rules could be disaster for LAD

Adam Weinrib
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the second inning at RingCentral Coliseum on April 07, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the second inning at RingCentral Coliseum on April 07, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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MLB has allowed a culture of spin-rate-increasing goop to become so pervasive that it’s now the game’s most hilarious open secret, and the Dodgers have taken full advantage of living in the Wild West in recent years.

After all, there’s long been no shame in trying, and LA’s year-over-year spin rate increase between 2020 and 2021 is the largest of any team’s. It would be hard to paint the Dodgers as the victim in all this.

Do hitters care? About the most intense possible concoctions, like Spider Tack, sure. They’d rather pitchers not completely dominate using an unfair mixture of an Anaheim clubbie’s design.

But in terms of whether they’d sacrifice a pitcher’s control for the slight decrease in spin rate that might come from, say, banning sunscreen and rosin in tandem, most offensive players would likely decline.

Well … about that …

MLB released a draconian policy meant to combat spin rate increases this week, which comes with ejections and 10-day suspensions for anything and everything. It’s not quite making a mountain out of a molehill, but it’s certainly an example of knocking the entire molehill over with no regard for the mess inside.

The Dodgers could be hurt by MLB’s draconian new foreign substance rules.

Unironically, we wish Major League Baseball had had more tact here.

While Trevor Bauer may be the face of the current wave of impeding the ball via foreign substances, he’s certainly not the only Dodger who’s benefitted from the changes. He’s also gone on record repeatedly claiming that he’d much rather participate in a fair playing field than be among those who benefit greatly from the introduction of glue, gum and grit.

That’s fine. But we haven’t seen a version of Bauer operating without his chosen product for several years, and early returns in recent weeks make it seem likely there’ll be an adjustment period.

According to Sports Illustrated’s investigation, though, Bauer alone is extremely unlikely to cause such a year-over-year spin rate increase. And every time a player is suspended for these infractions, they’ll be gone for 10 days and cannot be replaced on the 26-man roster.

Will the Dodgers have to play a man down thanks to an inevitable forthcoming indiscretion from one of their relievers or starters?

This is poised to get extremely ugly, and almost definitely isn’t what the Players Association called for when they met with MLB’s leaders.

Add another log to the fire for the contentious offseason conversation about the upcoming CBA, foretelling a potential work stoppage.

Also, add another thorn in the Dodgers’ side as they attempt to pass the Giants and Padres.

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