In what initially was viewed as a positive development, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly met with Players Association executive director Tony Clark this week after negotiations between team owners and the union over the phone proved futile.
The sit-down prompted MLB to submit another proposal after it was initially believed they would not. Players were offered full prorated salaries over a 60-game regular season schedule, with the possibility of earning more through an expanded postseason.
Also included in the plan was the implementation of a universal designated hitter for not just a potential 2020 season, but also the 2021 campaign. When the MLBPA submitted a counterproposal, it also included a universal DH.
The possibility of the National League adopting it was evident, regardless of whether or not MLB and the MLBPA agreed on a plan for this season.
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts understands the need for a universal DH this year, but will nonetheless miss the strategy involved from pitchers batting for themselves, via Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
“I like the cat-and-mouse, I like the thinking through the game,” Roberts said. “And when you have the DH, it’s more of a turnkey. … Knowing when to pull a pitcher to then have to double switch to use your entire roster, that’s a lot different.”
Former Dodgers pitcher and current SportsNet LA broadcaster Orel Hershiser echoed similar sentiments and hopes the DH remain exclusive to the American League past 2020:
“I understand the whole argument of, ‘I can’t believe we got to watch this guy go up there and hit when we could be watching a guy who could be hitting fourth or fifth in the order and he should be up there,’” Hershiser said. “I understand that argument and I think the only part of my argument is coming from my heart, not my head when it comes to the DH.”
With arguably the deepest roster in baseball, the Dodgers would seemingly benefit from the addition of a universal DH for the 2020 season. However, it is evident that many in the organization prefer the traditional style of NL baseball.
With NL only adopting a DH for this season, it allows for a final return to the style of baseball Hershiser and Roberts much prefer in 2021. But with the collective bargaining agreement due to expire after next season, most anticipate the NL will adopt a designated hitter at that point.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our shows, and more!