With just a few short months to go until Spring Training kicks off, there are still many questions about the 2021 MLB season. It’s not even clear at this point if the league will aim for a full 162-game season. The only real certainty right now is that the league and the Player’s Union still has a lot to figure out.
One of the things the two sides need to agree on is the use of the universal Designated Hitter. MLB adopted the universal DH for the duration of the 2020 season to cut back on injuries and give teams more flexibility in a pandemic year.
And now, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal is reporting that MLB has informed teams that they need to prepare to not have the universal DH in 2021. In a memo sent out to clubs last week, the league told them to operate under the assumption that it will not be in effect next season.
Fortunately for fans of the rule, that doesn’t mean that there is a guarantee that there will not be universal DH in 2021 or even in the future. The two sides will still need to discuss the rule change and Tony Clark will no doubt want to look at what that would mean for the expiring Collective Bargaining Agreement following the 2021 season.
But for now, that drastically changes free agency for a lot of teams. It also changes the outlook for a couple of big names on the market, such as Nelson Cruz and Marcell Ozuna. Those two guys will likely not get the money that they could have had the universal DH been a factor in MLB for the 2021 season.
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