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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Al Yellon On Why The NL Will Adopt The DH By 2012

Al Yellon thinks the NL will adopt the designated hitter rule by 2012. I'm not sure I agree on the timeline, though he makes the interesting point that the next labor negotiations will undoubtedly provide a strong impetus for both sides to get this done. The bait for ownership is protecting their expensive pitchers:
There are millions of dollars invested in pitchers like [Ubaldo] Jimenez, who is signed through 2012 with a couple of relatively inexpensive (for today's market) club options for 2013 and 2014. And teams don't want investments like this injured while doing something that isn't their primary responsibility -- batting or running the bases.
My view is that the DH saves pitchers (something Al notes) from the vicissitudes of the basepaths, and simultaneously gives guys like Jim Thome a position where they can be of some value rather than being a nuisance on the field, even at first. The former is a risk ownership wants removed; the latter is a carrot for the players. This should be a no-brainer.


I think this would be a definite win for the MLBPA. The 16 new DHs are likely to be high-earning veterans, who'd be replacing lower-salaried utility players and mop-up men. It means a team like the Cardinals could afford to open the vaults to retain Albert Pujols without worrying that he could become like Thome in the field as he ages.

I'm something of a purist in that I like the idea that everyone has to play both defense and offense, but I'm not as opposed to the DH as I used to be. I do enjoy the fact that it allows some great hitters to stay in the game longer.
Whatever they do, just make it the same in both leagues. Is that really so hard for baseball to figure out?
... especially now that there's no longer an executive structure for each league?

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