Aside from the abbreviated 60-game schedule, one of the most notable changes that came to MLB for the 2020 season was a universal designated hitter.
The new rule, though a major shift from the longstanding style of National League baseball, was generally received well by players and coaches alike.
Despite this, there are rumblings that the DH will once again become exclusive to the American League in 2021. It could again become universal when MLB and the MLBPA negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement after next season.
For the time being, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is operating under the notion that the NL will again revert back to being without a DH, via MLB Network Radio:
“I think it’s hard to prepare for that. I think it’s going to make roster construction a little trickier for National League teams. I think as of now we have to assume there will not be, but obviously things can change. There’s so much kind of up in the air right now.”
Even if only for one season, losing the DH would still be unfortunate for the Dodgers, who used the extra spot to give various players opportunities throughout the year. It most notably allowed them to keep Will Smith in the lineup when Austin Barnes caught Clayton Kershaw in the playoffs.
The Dodgers wound up hitting a league-high 118 homers during the abbreviated 60-game regular season and additionally broke the Atlanta Braves’ NL record for most home runs hit in a single calendar month.
Universal DH being leveraged in exchange for expanded postseason
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred hopes that both the universal DH and expanded postseason return for the 2021 season. However, the union is not particularly fond of the latter.
A trade-off may be required, which is what Manfred appears to be pushing. He is said to be leveraging the universal DH in exchange for the MLB Players Association signing off on another year with an expanded postseason.
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