As part of its plan for a modified 2020 season, which could be presented to the players’ union as soon as Tuesday according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, MLB is expected to propose a universal designated hitter. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden covered the possibility in detail on Sunday:
MLB is expected to propose a universal DH for the 2020 season as part of their plan. Here would be the immediate ramifications for each NL Team:https://t.co/fg9epa62fp— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) May 10, 2020
While this will cut down on strategy and take even more decision-making out of managers’ hands — their jobs already had lost some importance when the league instituted the three-batter rule for pitchers last offseason — it will make things more convenient with interleague play expected to be more prominent than ever in 2020. As Rosenthal detailed in a Saturday report, teams are only expected to face teams from their own division and the AL division in the same region, meaning that — for example — each AL Central and NL Central team would play two three-game series against each other, resulting in 30 interleague games for each club. Especially with the league expected to allow significantly expanded rosters, it just makes more sense right now to have every team use a DH rather than forcing AL teams to have their pitchers hit for nearly a fifth of the schedule.
If it ultimately is approved, this will obviously provide AL clubs with an automatic leg up since they went through the offseason knowing that they’d use a DH this year. NL teams such as the Giants, who signed 2019 All-Star DH Hunter Pence, and the Reds, who have a surplus of outfielders and an obvious DH candidate in Nicholas Castellanos, would be at an advantage, while other clubs that didn’t build up enough depth will be punished even more than they already would’ve under traditional NL rules.