Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Considers Universal DH ‘Pleasant Surprise’

Given the nature of the unusual 2020 season, Major League Baseball decided to make multiple rule changes, with the most notable being the addition of a universal designated hitter.

Up until this year, National League-style baseball has been played with pitchers hitting. But amid injury concerns, the DH was introduced, and it subsequently afforded managers the luxury of getting position players off their feet to keep them fresh.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have perhaps the most depth in baseball, allowing them to rotate their regulars at DH seemingly every night. “It’s been such a pleasant, pleasant surprise as far as the new rules implemented for this year — and some are going to be going forward,” manager Dave Roberts said.

“How we’ve used it, I think a lot of teams are using that model in the sense of — especially National League teams — using it as a day for certain players to revolve and get days off. We’ve done it with a handful of guys, which for me has felt good to manage their workload but still getting at-bats.”

The Dodgers have a number of veteran players as well as those who have dealt with injuries in the past such as Justin Turner, AJ Pollock and Corey Seager. Because they have been able to DH a day or two a week, all of them have mostly been able to stay healthy in 2020, which has been a factor in L.A. finishing another season with the best record in baseball.

It’s unclear if MLB plans on keeping the universal DH past 2020 as that will likely be a topic of conversation in the offseason. That is something Roberts would be open to despite not initially expecting as much.

“I love it. I didn’t think I would appreciate it as much as I do,” he recently said. “Just getting guys more at-bats and keeping the position player involved, I in particular like it because we have guys that can really defend, so the DH is essentially used as a day to get off your legs but still take some at-bats. It’s been really good for us.”

Dodgers DH plans for postseason

With the playoffs drawing closer, Roberts does anticipate trimming down his DH options. “I’m not going to divulge who, but it’s probably a three-man situation,” he said.

Joc Pederson, Edwin Rios and Pollock all figure to see time at DH in October, as could Will Smith if Austin Barnes is catching.

Just having that extra spot in the lineup is a huge benefit for the Dodgers, who already had arguably the deepest lineup in the league to begin with.

Entering Saturday, the Dodgers have a collective 109 wRC+ at DH for the season, which is eighth-best in baseball.

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