Among the many changes that found their way to Major League Baseball for the 2020 season was the implementation of a universal designated hitter.
This wasn’t good news for traditionalists, who prefer the longstanding style of National League baseball in which pitchers hit. However, the designated hitter eventually grew on the majority of players and coaches.
For the Los Angeles Dodgers, the designated hitter helped them break the Atlanta Braves’ National League record for most home runs hit in a single calendar month. They wound hitting a league-high 118 homers during the abbreviated 60-game regular season.
While the expectation is the universal DH will be part of a new collective bargaining agreement, it reportedly will become exclusive to the American League for the 2021 season, per LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune:
As of now, the DH will be AL-only next season, I'm hearing. The union and MLB would have to expand it to both leagues through bargaining.
— LaVelle E. Neal III (@LaVelleNeal) October 22, 2020
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is believed to be in favor of a permanent universal DH, but the union will have a say on the matter as well. Unfortunately, both sides have found it difficult to agree on pretty much anything over the last calendar year.
Whether things change in the coming months remains to be seen, but for now, it appears that NL teams will lose the DH for the 2021 season.
Turner believes DH benefitted Dodgers in 2020
Justin Turner, who openly identified himself as a traditionalist, came around to the NL having the DH.
“It’s been really good for us, because like I said, it’s not about one through eight or nine. We have a lot of quality hitters, so to be able to get that extra guy in the lineup, has been outstanding,” he said last month.
“You look at some of the guys that have hit ninth for us this year, they’re probably hitting in the middle of the order for most clubs. It’s been great, it’s been great to help guy such as myself get off their feet.
“I wasn’t always for the DH in the National League, but it hasn’t been too bad. It’s actually nice to DH some games.”
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