Commissioner Rob Manfred reveals MLB is considering use limits for relievers

Reds relievers have thrown an MLB-high 347 innings this season.

David Kohl/David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Does it seem like Major League Baseball games are dragging on and on this year? Well, that’s because they are. And the league is taking notice.

Commissioner Rob Manfred was a guest on ESPN Radio’s "Mike &Mike" on Thursday and was presented with several options to improve the game. One suggestion was to limit the use of relief pitchers. And his response was somewhat surprising:

"I am in favor of something like that," Manfred said. "We’ve [MLB] spent a ton of time on this issue in the last few months.

"You know the problem with relief pitchers is that they’re so good. I’ve got nothing against relief pitchers, but they do two things to the game: The pitching changes themselves slow the game down, and our relief pitchers have become so dominant at the back end that they actually rob action out of the end of the game, the last few innings of the game. So relief pitchers is a topic that is under active consideration. We’re talking about that a lot internally."

For the record, ESPN notes the average game time this season is 3 hours and 4 minutes — a 15-minute increase since 2005.