Thursday, March 06, 2014

Bring the DH to the NL

The DH has been passionately discussed over the past years. So I want to say that I come out completely in favor of having the DH in the both leagues. Here is why-

· Having a DH protects your pitchers.
The last thing you want is your pitcher who is getting paid to pitch to get hurt while batting or running the bases. The pitcher does not get paid to hit; they get paid to pitch.

· Adding a DH brings bat the balance of power among the two leagues.
Right now in interleague play and the World Series the AL has a huge advantage in their ballpark. While teams in the AL have players like David Ortiz, Jim Thome, Travis Hafner, etc.. for their DH; teams in the NL get to put out utility players and 4th outfielders in that spot. The balance of power needs to be more equal and adding the DH to the NL does that.

· Balancing the “perks” of signing a player to a big contract favors having a DH.
Right now the NL is at a huge disadvantage because a team in the AL can hand out mega deals to the best hitters in the game regardless of defense and age. If a dynamic hitter in the American League can no longer play the field in year 3 of a 7 year deal it is not an issue because they can still plug that player in the DH spot. Where as in the NL you are stuck to either trading, releasing, benching, or letting the player play the field even though he is a defensive liability.

· Making the game more exciting.
So many pitchers get off the hook with the pitcher hitting. It is essentially a free spot for the opposing team when that pitcher comes up to bat. By adding an actual hitter to the lineup you have more big opportunities in a game which makes the game more exciting.

· Veterans/Hitters have more places to play and more options.
There is the potential of 15 more spots for aging veteran ball players or players that simply can hit but not play the field. Players like Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero, Carlos Lee, etc.. who are still free agents would likely be a part of the MLB right now if the DH existed in the National League. Not only that but players coming up through the minors (Dan Vogelbach) who are good hitters but maybe blocked by an All-Star at their position have more of an opportunity to stay with that team because of the DH option. Furthermore it would allow all players access to all 30 teams through free agency. Because lets be honest a player like Adam Dunn does not have 30 options for several reason but not having a DH in both leagues should not be one of them. Fact is Adam Dunn wanted to sign with the Cubs at a discounted when he was a free agent. It went even as far as hearing speculation that he may accept a one year deal to play for the Cubbies. But because the Cubs were so worried about his defense at 1st and did not have a spot in the outfield they passed on him. If the Cubs had the DH he would have been signed by the them. I have a feeling this is the not a rare occurrence either, we just don’t hear about it.

All in all I am not sure how you argue against the Designated Hitter at this point. The game basics are the same but baseball overall has dramatically changed over time. The average fan likes the long ball, 8 to 7 final scores, and offense overall. Hardcore and traditional fans do love the strategy and tidbits of the game which I respect (and do not discount) but most average fans do not understand that portion of the game. I have evolved on this issue and now firmly support the National League adopting the Designated Hitter.