Now that the 2020 season has come and gone, the league has already begun negotiating with the MLB Players Association on the 2021 season.
The current collective bargaining agreement is in place for one more year, so the two sides will essentially agree on rules for the 2021 season before putting permanent ones in place next winter.
Perhaps the two biggest rule changes they agreed upon for the shortened 2020 season were the implementation of the universal designated hitter and an expanded postseason that allowed for 16 teams to participate in October baseball.
Both changes received mixed reaction and it remains to be seen if either or both will be back in 2021. Acccording to Jeff Passan of ESPN, they are being discussed between MLB and the MLBPA, with the latter prioritizing keeping the universal DH:
Players want it, sources said, but owners want the players to agree to expanded playoffs for the 2021 season in exchange. … Some executives believe the universal DH will stick around, even if the MLBPA doesn’t agree to the expanded playoffs.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has already said that he plans on keeping the expanded postseason past 2020 regardless, although it could be fewer than 16 teams in the future.
With many more discussions and negotiations to come, if the two sides could agree upon the universal DH and some form of an expanded postseason for 2021, that would be a great start to the offseason.
As it currently stands, the National League is not on track to have the DH next year.
Dodgers benefit from universal DH
The Los Angeles Dodgers were one of the teams that were positively impacted by the universal DH in 2020 as it allowed them to keep their everyday players fresh for the postseason run.
It then allowed them to use Austin Barnes as a catcher while still having Will Smith in the lineup throughout October, which ended in their first World Series win since 1988.
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