This piece originally ran last month when there were first rumblings of the universal DH, which is a part of MLB's latest proposal to players.
I'm far from a DH guy — preferring the added strategy of having to make earlier decisions with pitchers and implement more of your roster — but this is not a normal year and there are multiple reasons why making the DH universal in 2020 is the right move.
In a season of 60-ish games, you will likely see more games played between teams in close proximity to one another. Teams want to stay in their home parks if it is at all possible. For the Phillies, it could lead to more regular-season games against nearby AL clubs like the Orioles, Yankees and Red Sox. If there are more interleague games, you need to level the playing field.
The other main reason is the protection of pitchers. If/when there is baseball in 2020, more than ever before teams will need to take care of their arms because pitchers will not be built up the way they are normally. Removing a facet from the game that could also cause pitcher injury (getting hit by a pitch, pulling a hammy on the basepaths) is necessary.
Who would DH for the Phils?
The 2020 Phillies are well-suited for the designated hitter, much more so than they would have been at the start of the last two seasons when the bench was largely neglected.
The Phillies could enter the season with Jay Bruce as their designated hitter against right-handed pitchers and could incorporate Alec Bohm against lefties, either by playing Bohm at first base and DH'ing Rhys Hoskins or vice versa. Either way, it should allow the Phillies to slot another powerful bat into their lineup.
They could also DH Andrew McCutchen at times to preserve his legs, allowing one of Adam Haseley or Roman Quinn to enter the lineup. They could DH Bryce Harper or J.T. Realmuto occasionally to get their top stars off their feet while still benefiting from their bat.
Who else benefits?
The Phillies are not alone. Adding the DH will let the Braves fit all four of their outfielders (Ronald Acuña Jr., Marcell Ozuna, Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis) into their lineup.
It will allow the Mets to ease Yoenis Cespedes back in after missing most of the last two years to injury.
The Nationals will be able to play Howie Kendrick, a very good hitter who is below-average in the field, every day.
It will open up a spot for the Dodgers to start A.J. Pollock, who was signed to a $55 million contract last offseason but is already behind at least three outfielders on L.A.'s depth chart.
The Brewers will likely use their DH spot on Ryan Braun, keeping an outfield of Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Avisail Garcia with Justin Smoak at first base.
The Reds can shift Nick Castellanos, an all-offense player, from the corner outfield to DH and add Nick Senzel, their top prospect entering last season and former No. 2 overall pick behind Mickey Moniak, into the everyday lineup.
The Padres will be able to start all four of their outfielders (Tommy Pham, Trent Grisham, Franchy Cordero, Wil Myers).
Those are the seven National League examples that stick out the most, though it seems like the biggest winners with the DH would be the Phillies, Dodgers and Nationals, and maybe the Mets if Cespedes can come back healthy and be even 80% of the player he used to be.
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