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MLB News: Ken Rosenthal Thinks the Universal DH Will Return in 2021

Despite what the league has said, the DH could be back.



The uncertainty with the 2021 MLB season should be a little concerning given that we are rapidly approaching February. But Commissioner Rob Manfred has already told teams to prepare to start on time for Spring Training and to prepare for a full 162 games. 

Manfred said that despite ongoing negotiations between MLB and the Player’s Union. Among the things that will be discussed between the two sides is the use of the Universal DH. Previously thought to be out of the question for 2021, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal now believes that it will be part of their plan. 

This is all just part of negotiations between MLB and the Union. And the problem from my understanding is it’s not just involving the DH, there are other elements, other rules, other aspects like expanded playoffs that MLB wants to be part of this package that they will negotiate…So, I do expect ultimately there will be a DH in the National League in 2021 and beyond. 

The addition of the DH across the league would be a game-changer for MLB this offseason. National League teams would now be in the hunt for a big bat, and guys that rely on having that available to them would have a greater pool of bidders. Guys like Nelson Cruz and Marcell Ozuna would suddenly be facing the potential to make a lot more money in 2021 and beyond. 

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It would also explain some of the reported rumors coming out of the Dodgers organization. The team has already been linked to Ozuna twice in the last few days, a move that wouldn’t make any sense at all without the universal DH being put in place by MLB. 

Stay tuned as MLB and the Player’s Union continue to figure things out in the coming weeks. But when Ken Rosenthal says something, it’s usually with great confidence for a reason. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. This DH decision should have been decided along time ago. In addition to what this writer talks about, pitchers with the $$ the good ones command should be protected as they were in 2020. As I said before pitchers haven’t swung a bat in over a year and with that the risk of injury is too great.

  2. It is a shame that the DH is being held up as a bargaining piece in the negotiations. All the reasons to oppose it (we are losing “strategy!!!!”) were shown to be irrelevant in 2020. We don’t need to watch pitchers strike out – or worse – injure themselves running out ground balls. If the universal DH is not approved them we need to add an “intentional strikeout” to the rules where – when a pitcher comes up – the ump automatically “rings” them up to save time and wear and tear.

  3. Rainbirdmuse, good points here. And with current Covid concerns, a pitcher lucky enough to reach base thus is in prolonged contact potentially with fielders as well as when batting. Premium pitching is very costly as we know and cannot always be replaced equally. But you know that the NL would never agree to an intentional strike out in an inning where the pitcher’s spot is due up, thereby playing that inning having only 2 outs.

  4. Personally I will miss the pitchers hitting. Watching Rich Hill at the plate and on the bases was very entertaining! That being said having a $100 million investment out there risking injury rounding 1st base doesn’t make sense. It just isn’t worth it.

    • Exactly, Tim. That’s just a fact that it’s not worth the risk, especially for a pitcher who has in excess of $ a 100 million contract. And as was said by rainbirdmuse, there was still plenty of ‘strategy in every game when ya add all those other rules in place during 2020.

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