The teams of the MLB are currently gearing up for the free agency period of the 2021 offseason, but many questions remain about the state of the league next year. Among them is the possibility of the universal DH returning for a full season, rather than the 60 game trial run it had in this year. In order for this to happen, the MLBPA will need to sign off on a extended playoff format (again, like we saw this year), and that doesn’t seem too likely. That said, it does seem that the universal DH will be back for good in the near future. So, what are the pros and cons to a universal DH rule?
The most obvious pro that comes with a universal DH rule is that we won’t see players who spend little or no time working on their craft at the plate. Instead, that role will be filled by a player who likely only works on their hitting, or at least someone who needs a night off from the field but has too important a bat to fully sit. And an increase in offense means the game becomes more exciting for the majority of viewers.
More Players Making an Impact
The arrival of a universal DH means more players would get their shot, either in that spot or taking the place on the field of someone who isn’t as great out there. Players in the minors that are very good hitters but poor fielders might have a better time finding their way onto a major league roster. Especially with a shrinking minor league system, this could be very good for those on-the-cusp players.
More Money to the Players
Despite the possible addition of players, we would also see more players get more money. Hitting becomes much more valuable in the NL, so players who would normally be considered a “bench bat” will instead become everyday players.
Since there will be no pitcher in the batting lineup, we’ll likely see fewer pinch hit situations throughout the league. There will still be moments you want a better matchup against a reliever, but otherwise a lot of the strategy of switching players around after pinch-hitting a pitcher or pulling a Joe Maddon and having the pitcher bat 8th will be a thing of the past.
No More Pitchers Hitting Home Runs
One of the simple joys of baseball is watching a pitcher hit a home run. There just something about seeing it, even if its a pitcher who rakes often like Zach Greinke, that puts a smile on your face. Well, with a universal DH that won’t happen. That is sad, but hopefully this video will cheer you up:
And, hey, at least we’ll still have Position. Players. Pitching!
No Difference between the NL and AL
Something I’ve really appreciated about the MLB is that unlike every other major sport, there’s an actual difference between two leagues rules-wise. And I’m sure there are some out there who feel the same way. It just makes the MLB feel different and special compared to the others. Imagine if the West teams in the NBA didn’t have a defensive 3 second violation, allowing more zone to be played. Or if in the NFC the Kicker and Punter in a game had to be the same player. Sometimes having little rule changes makes interleague (or interconference) play a little more magical.
That’s some of the significant pros and cons for a universal DH rule in the MLB. Let me know in the comments: Should the MLB continue the universal DH, or leave the leagues the way they are?
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– Pat Shuman (@PShu1996 on Twitter)