Look, no one enjoys watching pitchers flail at breaking balls they couldn’t hit even if they were told exactly when and where it was going to be, trying to put bunts down with their eyes closed, and the occasional majestic Bartolo Colon home run more than us. It adds a certain comedic element to baseball games that is one of the few areas of the game where being bad at hitting is generally accepted and even encouraged towards that end.
However, the reality is that there has been momentum towards a universal designated hitter for a while now. No one really thinks that pitchers hitting adds anything uniquely positive to the quality of the games being played. Are there unique strategic choices made around pitchers hitting? Sure, but there are another set of decisions set around lineups without pitchers in them that are also unique and don’t involve watching guys get embarrassed as they desperately try to put the ball in play.
For those who agree with this general sentiment, today is a good day.
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
Now lets be clear...we have been fooled before regarding negotiations between MLB and MLBPA taking positive steps forward. Last week, there was a 100 percent chance of baseball happening according to Rob Manfred and then a couple of days ago, things were thrown into complete chaos as Manfred walked that proclamation back considerably.
In the wake of Manfred’s statements and MLB’s positions being taken poorly by, well, just about everyone, it appears that all of a sudden the league and the MLBPA are making real progress towards a deal for the 2020 season. As an added bonus for those who want a designated hitter in the National League, it looks like the agreement will include the imposition of the DH for 2020 and 2021. As Haudricourt correctly notes, with the CBA set to be renegotiated after 2021 and the current momentum towards a universal DH, we may have seen the last of lineups with pitchers in them. For this author, that is a welcome development.