This week, MLB players’ union leader Tony Clark said that he expected the issue of extending the designated hitter to the National League to come up in the 2016 collective bargaining round. Baseball adopted Rule 6.10 which permitted leagues to allow designated hitters. The American League chose to do that beginning in 1973. Opinions (100 words maximum) from every writer on the Redleg Nation staff:

Yes

Joe Atkinson: The DH is coming to the National League. It’s inevitable, and has been since Interleague play became a daily part of MLB life. Having two teams from two leagues that play by two different rules go head-to-head every day means at least one team is playing at a disadvantage every day. In that sense, I am fine with MLB instituting the rule league-wide. Would I prefer it went the other way and banned the DH altogether? Absolutely. But in a world where the average fan craves offense and decries pitcher’s duels as “dull,” that will never happen.

Jeremy Conley: I’m the exception in this debate. I used to think I could never accept the DH in the NL, and now I’ve changed sides. Growing up, I liked the differences in the leagues, but interleague games ruined that already; baseball isn’t a game for purists anymore. Once I let go of the notion that the leagues are different, the DH made sense. It increases offense, prevents injuries by letting players get rest, and it lets managers be flexible with their rosters. You lose some double switches, but I’d rather see players win games than managers lose them with bonehead moves.

Greg Dafler:  I’ve been at peace with the NL adopting the DH rule since they announced 15 team leagues and year-round interleague play back in late 2011. This rule isn’t just about the NL versus the AL. None of the minor league affiliates follow the NL rule. Major League Baseball is in a situation where they ask high school and college kids to NOT bat (or rarely bat) for a few years of pitching development before being asked to step to the plate against major league caliber pitchers. It is time for the NL to take pitchers out of the batters box.

Tom Diesman: I would be a more staunch supporter of the reverse, removing the DH from the AL.  That however will never be allowed by the players union.  That said, I support the addition of the DH in the NL.  The reasons being, to level the playing field between the teams during interleague play and to hopefully force the Reds current GM to actually find a legitimate bat for the bench since they currently are inept at bench building and leave themselves at an extreme disadvantage versus AL clubs when the DH is used.

Mark Elliott: As a NL fan, I loved the mystery of the differences between the leagues. John Kruk bailing out of the batter’s box against Randy Johnson in the ’93 ASG is still one of my favorite baseball moments. But with interleague play now every day, that mystery is long gone. It is time to standardize the game. (Wanna bet that a proposal for a 26 man active roster shows up at the same time?)

Jeremy Forbes: I like the idea of making the pitchers fight in their at bats, and the strategy it adds to games, but there’s one number that makes me think the NL needs to adopt the DH. Eleven. As in eleven straight years that the AL has had a winning record against the NL in Interleague Play. The difference between an NL and AL pitcher batting isn’t much, but the difference between an AL DH and an NL bench player is much greater. There’s no way the AL will get rid of the DH, so the NL really has no other choice.

Greg Gajus: Despite being terrified of seeing a Reds lineup with “Skip Schumacher – DH” I am for it. 1) Having two different rules is a silly relic of the 1970’s. 2) In a bunt situation, the pitcher bunts. Starters that are losing in late innings are pinch hit for.  Where is the strategy? Does the revered double switch matter much? 3) The team building strategy is interesting. Find an Adam Dunn? Use it to rest regulars? Devin Mesoraco, 120 games caught, 150 games played? Put together a platoon? Trading the DH for Super Twos would be a good deal for the owners.

Doug Gray: There is no chance that MLB will eliminate the DH position, so it would be great for the NL to adopt it. The DH in the AL allows that league to sign players to longer contracts because later in their careers they can slide them to DH. It gives them an advantage in free agency and allows the entire league to compile talent that the NL simply can’t do, or if they can, they do so with more risk.

Mike Maffie: Having the DH in the AL but not the NL reminds me more of a John Oliver, “ How’s this still a thing” than a rule in a major professional sport. It complicates cross-league comparisons, influences the labor market, and has at least a marginal effect on the season and postseason outcomes. Could I be convinced that every player should bat? Sure. Could I be convinced that the pitcher’s position is purely defensive and having them bat is boring and bad for baseball? Sure. I don’t care which side of the fence baseball is on; I just prefer it not be in the middle.

Steve Mancuso: I’m for anything that would avoid me having to watch Aaron Harang hit.

Middle of the Road

Taylor Ballinger: It’s inevitable. With season-long interleague play, teams can’t play by different sets of rules from series to series. The DH allows players to extend their careers, so it’s not going away. But once, when I was six, when Tom Browning came up to bat, “He’s gonna hit a home run,” I proclaimed. “He’s a pitcher, they don’t….” My dad’s voice trailed off as Browning crushed one into the night sky. I danced around the living room. I’ve made that guess about Reds pitchers countless times. I’ve never been right since. There’s a reason, but I sure will miss dreaming…Kevin Michell: The National League adopting the designated hitter is something that makes sense but goes against one of nice quirks of baseball- the unique difference of how the NL game is played. I think pitchers hitting is “true baseball” in a sense, but if the Reds were playing with a DH, free agent shopping would be a heck of a lot easier. Consistency in the game is important to a lot of people (me, not so much) and the MLBPA won’t be going back to a world without a DH,  so this just seems an inevitability.

No 

Nick Carrington: The NL adopting the designated hitter seems inevitable, and I’ve always found it strange that the two leagues play under different rules. But that doesn’t mean I want the DH in the NL or think it’s a good idea. I enjoy the strategy forced upon a manager when the pitcher is batting. Also, the DH is not what it used to be. We aren’t seeing many Frank Thomas or Edgar Martinez type hitters in that spot anymore. Instead, we are graced with players like Logan Morrison and teams rotating players.  Does that sound appealing to you?

Nick Doran: Real baseball players play defense. If a player is too fat, old or clumsy to catch a baseball then he doesn’t belong on the diamond. Running, throwing, diving and leaping are required skills for baseball players. Take away the need to play in the field and you end up with fat, lazy, non-athletic players who would be more at home in a bowling alley or a golf course than on the hallowed grounds of a baseball field.

Wesley Jenkins: As a pitcher for nearly the entirety of my lengthy but uneventful baseball career, the possible addition of the DH to the NL would seem to be a long awaited development. There is nothing most pitchers hate more than having to fend for themselves at the plate. But yet I would still rather the DH stay out of the National League. Without a DH, there is so much more strategy to the game. Especially as a pitcher, I appreciate the intricacies of a low scoring game. More offense is not always the best solution.

Nick Kirby: One great thing that separates MLB from other sports is the two leagues play with different rules. It is fun and intriguing to see the managers work the game differently, DH’s play in the field, AL pitchers hit, and debate which NL player will DH for three days. Baseball keeps its tradition. While I am for improving the game, I don’t think the DH does that. The DH in the NL would hurt a smaller market team like the Reds. If they had to pay for another hitter, it would only hurt the Reds from competing with the bigger spenders.

Matt Korte: As a player, I would love it. As a fan of the game I hate it. As a Reds fan, this would be terrible. The Dodgers or Cubs, teams with big dollars to spend, will add another big bat to their lineup. But teams like the Reds, already cash-strapped, can barely put together eight solid hitters let alone nine. Because of the money players will earn and the careers this will extend, I think the DH in the NL is almost a certainty. But as a practical Reds fan, this would put us at a major disadvantage.

Jason Lawrence: “I grew up watching mostly National League baseball, so pitchers batting and the strategy that comes with it (bunting, pinch-hitting, double-switching, etc.) is an essential and interesting part of the game to me. American League baseball has always felt a little more sterile and predictable, but I enjoy the small distinction between the two leagues. On the other hand, if MLB plans to implement rules to quicken the game and increase offense, a designated hitter in the National League seems more natural than forcing relievers to face 2 or more batters.”

Jason Linden: I don’t want the DH in the NL, but I don’t have any good reasons. What it comes down to is that baseball is a game. Games are supposed to be fun. They are supposed to entertain. I’ve always thought the DH was kind of boring, but I also like the quirk of different rules in different leagues. I think having no DH makes things a little more entertaining. But in the end, it doesn’t matter much. I like things how they are, but I’ll get over it if there’s a change.

Chris Wilson: As a baseball purist, I don’t want to see the DH added to the National League.  I would prefer to see the American League do away with it before seeing it implemented in the NL.  Unfortunately, it appears to be something that will happen sooner or later.  I know it will change the landscape of how the franchise signs players, but the Reds have not exactly been deep in the terms of potential DH types in recent seasons.

That’s what we think, Nation, what say you, should the NL adopt the DH rule?

31 Responses

  1. Dan

    I find the argument for having the DH is extremely flawed unless they are also for designated fielders. If I have Adam Dunn, and David Ortiz on my team why can’t they both just hit and i’ll put a DF (designated fielder) out for them. Who wants to see those guys field?? Maybe each team can have 18 guys starting a game. 9 hitters and 9 fielders. Why not? Because its not baseball. Neither is the DH.

  2. vegastypo

    I hate the DH. But what I hate more is having two sets of rules, and of wondering how different a pitcher’s stats would be if he were in the AL, when he never got to face the pitcher, thus perhaps weakening the No. 8 hitter as well, since he could be pitched around. Or wondering how an AL pitcher would fare if he had a break with the pitcher’s spot, etc.

    I’ve resigned myself to the idea that the DH is headed our way. And I fear who the Reds will use at DH, given that we’re already in cost-cutting mode. We spent years without a legit left-fielder who was an offensive threat, and I’m not impressed with this one either. Why would I be confident of getting a good designated hitter?

  3. BigRedMachine

    I’m against the DH because I think it magnifies the differences between the big market and small market teams. A team like the Dodgers can easily take a good hitting 4th outfielder with knee issues and make them a great DH. Teams like the Reds have a hard time coming up with a decent hitting 3rd outfielder let alone a 4th. Where would the money to pay for a DH come from?

    I would only be “happy” with a DH in the NL if baseball went to a salary cap structure. I still think playing baseball means hitting and fielding and that should include pitchers too.

  4. Redfuture

    I favor a compromise that allows a Substitute Hitter (SH) for the SP once and only once per game without forcing the SP from the game. By the way, the Substitute Hitter is different than a Pinch Hitter (PH) in that he may re-enter the game (or not) ANYTIME as a defensive player first, and assume the pitcher’s spot in the batting order. Furthermore the SP must still hit for himself the next time up in order to stay in the game after using up the ONE SH chance. Say that the SP is pitching a great game and his team loads the bases with 2 out and the SP turn in the batting order comes up…. OR… nobody is on base with 2 out and the SP turn comes up. The manager must decide whether to use his ONE chance with a Substitute Hitter or just let the pitcher bat and save the chance for later in the game. Also if you have a great hitting backup catcher you can use him as an SH and still have him available to catch as a defender should your starting catcher get hurt.

    • lwblogger2

      Too outside the box, so never gonna happen. Pretty neat idea though.

  5. Dennis

    I hate the DH for many reasons, but here’s one no one else brought up: I love seeing pitchers get big hits. Seeing a pitcher get a big hit or home run is, honestly, one of my favorite things about the game. Remember when Bronson Arroyo started his Reds career in 2006 with two home runs? I do. How about Rick Camp’s 18th-inning home run against the Mets in 1985? Johnny Cueto’s game-winning single to clinch his 20th win last year? Aaron Harang’s sole career home run against the Cubs? Clayton Kershaw’s opening-day home run? Micah Owings’ 4-hit, 2-home run game as a D-Back? Joe Blanton’s HR in the World Series?

    These are some of my favorite baseball memories. The DH in the NL would sadden me.

    • the next Janish

      I loved that Bronson had more home runs then Big Papi for which I remember was a couple weeks.

  6. Earl Nash

    I think the DH has leeched it’s way into all forms of baseball but the NL, so it is probably enviable that it will come to be added.

    I’ve grown up watching NL baseball and having to work around the pitcher in game play, so to me the AL game seems kind of dull in that area. I can’t see why anyone would want the style of baseball the Yankees/Red Sox play to be come the standard, it’s so SLOW and dull.

  7. Tom Reed

    With inter-league play a fixture these days, the dh will probably come to the NL. But I prefer the traditional way with the pitcher trying to help himself at the plate or the use of the pinch hitter and the bullpen. The dh tends to decrease late-game strategy.

  8. ohiojimw

    I’m somewhat ambivalent about the DH; but, I don’t realistically see the genie being put back into the bottle. I also believe every team in both “leagues” should play the same number of games with the DH be that zero, all, or some formula that would preserve both styles of play with all teams using the DH for a set number of games and not using it in the rest of their games.

  9. CP

    Watching the pitchers hit is boring, not to mention the secondary effects of having to watch the #8 hitter get pitched around, extra relief pitchers get brought in for no good reason other than the #9 spot coming up, and mandatory sac bunts.

  10. RedInInd

    I’m in agreement with about 96% of the above comments: make the DH go away. Maybe the AL could be enticed to abandon the DH by letting pitchers use aluminum bats. Same for the NL so everybody’s on even ground. And while I’m at it, all interleague play during the regular season (except one) should be ended. We’ve got the All Star game and the World Series for that.

  11. HerpyDerp

    If you play in the field , then you play at the plate, and vice versa. If you don’t then you’re a hitter or a pitcher, not a baseball player. Banishing the DH would be ideal, but I do see it inevitably coming to the NL.

  12. redmountain

    No DH! No how, no way! On the other hand, when Votto gets close to the end of his contract it may be a good thing. In the next couple of years the Reds will have a new TV contract so that money may not be quite so tight.

  13. Drew

    Not having the DH in the NL is a joke. I have no desire to see a player who only plays in about 25% of the overall games try to hit like pitchers do. Adding the DH to the NL is waaayyyy past due and needs to be done as soon as possible.

  14. Thegafffer

    10 years ago I would say that NL would never get DH, now it looks to be inevitiable. Its sad but 1) its a massive disadvantage for the NL 2) offense sells tickets and that is way down.

  15. WVRedlegs

    No to a DH in the NL. Yes to expand NL rosters to 26 and keep the AL with 25. Then see if the AL comes around to dropping the DH in favor of a 26 man roster.
    Do not take away the late inning stategies that NL baseball has.

  16. theRickDelux

    The most logical argument in favor of the DH that I don’t see being made is one of money. Solid starting pitchers are paid upwards of $10MM a year to… pitch. If you were the owner or the manager would you want your pitchers hitting? I would not as it seems an unnecessary risk on top of the potential shoulder, elbow, wrist, finger injuries. NFL owners don’t pay Quarterbacks to play defense. From a business perspective allow the pitchers to hit is illogical.

  17. Paul

    I used to be dead-set against it, but I must be mellowing in my old age because now the idea of the DH in the NL doesn’t bother me at all.

    There are really no new arguments for or against it, so nothing in particular swayed me. I just wouldn’t lose sleep if I never saw a pitcher bat again.

  18. HerpyDerp

    What about Mike Leake? Travis Wood? Micah Owings? That would suck for them to no longer be able to hit when they are clearly good at it. I’d be pissed if I was told I couldn’t play half the game because of my position. Not that it’s a real argument against the DH, just more food for thought.

    Also, Mike Leake for DH.

    • PDunc

      Just to add to my point below. Mike Leake, a good hitter for a pitcher, has career batting line of .234/.261/.325 which looks really similar to Schumachers .235/.287/.308 of last season.

      The worst hitting player to qualify for the batting title, our very own Zack Cozart had an OPS of .568. Mike Leake, again one of the better hitting pitchers in the league, had a .527 OPS.

      There either needs to be a culture shift in youth/high school/college/minor league baseball where pitchers are also taught to hit well (doesn’t seem likely to happen) or the NL needs the DH.

      • lwblogger2

        A lot of times at the HS and sometimes even the college level, some of the best pitchers are also some of the best hitters, or are really good hitters. A lot of pitchers, especially in HS play other positions when not pitching. I agree with you when it comes to the minors. And unfortunately, since the DH isn’t going away and for various other reasons already stated, the NL should probably adopt the DH. I hate to say it, but it’s true.

      • HerpyDerp

        One was also paid to hit and takes consistent batting practice, the other is Mike Leake. If he took more batting practice, I’d be curious where hit numbers might be.

  19. PDunc

    I think one of the misconceptions about people who want the DH in the NL is that they don’t enjoy a pitchers-duel. At least for me I enjoy a pitching a pitchers-duel as long it is the result of good pitching, which is still possible with a DH in the lineup. (As an example in July of last year the top 2 scoring teams in the AL, the Angels and Tigers, played a series with 3 games having final scores of 2-1, 4-0 & 2-1.)

    What I don’t enjoy is watching Johny Cueto, Aaron Harang, or most any other pitcher swing a bat. Per Baseball-Reference, last season all pitchers hit a combined .122/.153/.152
    In comparison, everyone’s least favorite Red’s bench player, Schumacher, hit .235/.287/.308 last season. Even Skip, one of the worse regulars at the plate for the Reds, hit nearly twice as well as the average MLB pitcher.

  20. lwblogger2

    Unfortunately, since the DH isn’t going away and for various other reasons already stated, the NL should probably adopt the DH. I hate to say it, but it’s true. I really, really don’t like the DH but that’s mostly because I’m getting old and have always followed the NL more closely and therefore like that style of game. My reasons then are personal and not based in what is probably better for MLB as a whole. It isn’t like I’m going to stop watching when the NL eventually adopts the DH.

    Steve M’s reason for wanting the NL to adopt the DH is easily my favorite though 🙂

  21. PRoseFutureHOFer

    I can’t stand the DH and I really don’t like some of the rationale used in favor of adding it to the NL. The one that really bothers me is, “The players union will never allow MLB to remove the DH from the American League.” Really? What if the MLB owners agreed that, in exchange for getting rid of the DH, they would raise the major league minimum salary to, say, 100 million dollars a year? My exaggerated point: Everything has a price. Whenever anyone talks about this, it’s from the assumption that getting rid of the DH altogether is impossible – but no one has even CONSIDERED negotiating on the issue.

    What if, in exchange for getting rid of the DH in the American League, MLB agreed to increase the rosters by 1 player for each league? This would add 15 jobs to the Major Leagues (subtract 15 DHs, add 30 players total). If they START with that premise, you’re telling me there’s nothing additional that the players association would accept to make up for losing the DH?

    The argument used to be that the DH is a highly paid position and my suggestion would result in replacing that position with someone likely making close to the minimum. But as one of the writers here said, the days of every DH being a high priced slugger seem to be behind us. I have no idea what the average DH makes these days, but it’s got to be less than it was 15 years ago. What if the owners agreed to expand the rosters, and then agreed to some kind of additional “DH bonus” for the 26th man on the roster?

    Again, my point is, this issue s negotiable – yet everyone seems to have pre-emptively surrendered on the idea that the NL has to accept the DH. Why not at least float the idea of getting rid of it altogether?

    • PRoseFutureHOFer

      I became mathematically challenged apparently…obviously, my suggestion would result in 30 extra jobs, not 15.

    • CP

      Because AL fans don’t want to get rid of the Dh, whereas some % of NL fans either want the DH or don’t care. They aren’t debating getting rid of the DH over on AL fanboards…

  22. cfd3000

    Nope. Call me old school. But definitely a no.

  23. Earl Nash

    I think for the Reds there would be some advantages if the DH happened now as they got so many millions tied up in Joey Votto. JV’s defense has been fine to good, but being able to have him maybe DH a couple times a week might be able to maximize his at bats.

    • CP

      It would be nice to give JV some time off from playing the field, but it would be more useful for Mesoraco imo. Save them knees…