The 2020 regular season was initially slated to be one in which Major League Baseball implemented new rules, including pitchers having to face at least three batters or reach the end of a half-inning and rosters expanded to 26 players, among other changes.
MLB then found itself at the center of a firestorm after announcing the results of an investigation into the Houston Astros for their electronic sign stealing. Scrutiny eventually began to subside, but MLB and the world collectively faced a challenge with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Two months have passed since the remainder of Spring Training games were cancelled and start of the regular season was delayed. MLB and its owners reportedly are honing in on details for a proposal that will be presented to the union in effort to resume play.
According to Joel Sherman of The New York Post, it will include the National League adopting the designated hitter:
I heard that a DH will be used in both leagues, in part to protect pitchers who will have to ramp up to pitch in a shortened second spring.
MLB switching to a universal DH has long been speculated as a possibility — if not eventual reality. Though, in November 2018, Manfred indicated he was not in favor of such change.
“I think since I became involved, and this may give too much credit to my deal-making ability, I could have made a deal with the MLPBA on extending the DH to the National League,” Manfred said at the time.
“I think that’s been a pretty consistent position of the players since 1987, so I don’t think there’s a real headline there. The most likely outcome at this point would be the status quo.”
Manfred further cited the NL fans’ love for how the game is played as a primary reason that he doesn’t want to see the rule changed and noted such a switch would mean the NL style of baseball becomes extinct.
From the players’ perspective, adopting the DH would add 30 more jobs, which figures to be enticing to keep the position beyond the 2020 season.
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