The proposition of the National League adding a designated hitter has picked up steam in recent years, specifically for 2020. Major League Baseball will likely realign its divisions in wake of a shortened season due to the coronavirus, where NL and AL teams will be grouped together.
MLB and the players union haven't come to terms for a 2020 campaign yet but took a big step in that direction on Wednesday. And according to reports, that agreement (should it come to fruition) will include the NL adding a DH not only in 2020, but also 2021.
Pending MLB agreement reportedly includes DH in NL for both 2020 and 2021. Then comes new CBA which almost certainly will include it. So, NL is a DH league now.— Tom (@Haudricourt) June 17, 2020
MLB offer includes universal DH for not just 2020, but 2021 too. It also includes on top of 100 pct prorated salary for 60 games, a $25M postseason pool.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) June 17, 2020
As Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt points out, adding a DH to the NL in 2021 would all but seal full-time implementation in 2022. Agreeing to do so now could relate to the uncertainty of what the 2021 league calendar will look like — as it will be contingent on how circumstances around the pandemic evolve.
However, MLB theoretically won't need a universal DH in 2021 if it reverts back to its traditional divisional format. But with the Collective Bargaining Agreement expiring after next season, the league can lay the groundwork now for a full-time implementation in the next CBA.
Baseball purists won't be happy to see pitchers no longer hit but a universal DH has been inevitable for some time. While pitchers hitting for themselves adds an element of strategy to the game — forcing managers to decide either to let them bat or insert a pinch hitter — most aren't adept at the plate.
Jon Lester has come a long way offensively since joining the Cubs in 2015. But over that span the club has had deep rosters, with sluggers like Jorge Soler, Kyle Schwarber, Javier Báez, etc. not starting on given days as a result. Adding a DH to the NL doesn't mean teams are guaranteed to see a boost in their offensive output, but imagine the impact it would have had on the North Side in recent years.
And, no, Schwarber is not the automatic choice to assume the role for the Cubs.
At the very least, the DH adds jobs to a game that has seen its free agent market squeezed in recent seasons. By the looks of it, that addition is on its way.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.