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MLB Tells Teams to Assume There Will Not Be a Universal DH in 2021

Things are changing in MLB yet again.



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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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. The owners want enlarged playoffs the players union wants the DH and possibly rosters enlarged.
    This is very probably a negotiating tactic by the owners for upcoming talks. Boras announced MLB informed the companies paying for coverage of games there would be a full season. They can say whatever they want but until the pandemic gets to a manageable situation I doubt they can get that done. Look at how much the NFL is struggling and they only play once a week! Baseball may need to collapse into regional areas to play to control travel and get more into a bubble atmosphere. We shall see. Fauci suggested the US would not be able to stop outbreaks until “Herd Immunity” is reached sometime late 3rd quarter. If everything goes according to plan and we all know how that goes.

  2. Fauci , knows as much about the virus as he does about throwing a baseball , I thought he was to be very athletic ? ANYWAYS, I like the DH in one way , It would continue a players career, not that they make enough now. So with that I feel it would make a game more interesting than having someone pinch hit , but then again old Baseball has it’s way bringing back the bunt ( sacrifice ) a choice ,or a DH’er hitting it out of the park. Whose choice ?

  3. Well Johnny you are probably one of the COVIdiots out there so I hope your loved ones stay safe and well. Two of our daughters are ICU nurses one in CA and one in AZ. Both of them are exhausted and their hospitals are overrun. We are fearful for their health and well being. My daughter in CA lost a good friend also a nurse to COVID last week. ICU units here in AZ and in CA are overflowing and people are dying.
    LA County had 10K new cases Sunday and over 100K in just 5 days…
    So baseball is not coming back until there is a solution despite what idiots like you think.

    • TMAXSTER… I FIRST OF ALL WOULD LIKE TO VERY MUCH THANK YOUR DAUGHTERS FOR ALL OF THE HARD WORK AND UNSELFISHNESS THAT THEY HAVE PUT IN WITH THIS TERRIBLE PANDEMIC THANK YOU SO MUCH.! Mr. TMAXSTER you do not know one thing about me or what in my life I have endured.I started out as a MEDIC in Viet Nam ,Upon Honorable Discharge I furthered my education to get my LPN if you don’t what it means ask your daughters.I went further to get another degree in nursing RPN if you don’t know what it means ask your daughters ,I still continued to want a career in medical field but wanted to go on a different Avenue, so I chose MEDICAL TECHNOLOGIST in a lab for over. 20 Years.I have worked close to Doctors Personally analyzing and finding results for complex test. I have my Degrees A Bachelor’s Degree and Licensing Degree .I told you those two Degrees , you do not have to ask your daughters. My BSN Degree it took me a few extra years, I have lost many friends in WAR ,I have lost many friends in which I gained in HOSPITAL environment, I have spent countless hours in Hospital working to make a better life for patients , as I am sure your daughters have devoted themselves to also.I can go on and on but I am not an IDIOT let alone a…….. COVIDIOT……… I have know Idea how old you are ? I just retired in my seventies, because the MEDICAL PHYSICIANS felt confident with my KNOWLEDGE and did not want me to leave ……So who is the IDIOT ?

  4. So Johnny, where did you get your degree in epidemiology?
    And let’s let the NL play real baseball with the accompanying required strategy. Leave the AL play baseball where their managers have an easier time managing.

    • I have been a MEDICAL TECHNOLOGIST IN A HOSPITAL LABORATORY for over 20 years , just having retired .I had worked one on one with many Doctors in all types of labs, analyzing complexes tests, discussing results, I have my bachelor’s degree and licensing degree. Have safe and Happy Holidays.

    • El broccoli, I am one who feels without a doubt that both the AL AND NL should play pro baseball BY THE SAME RULES for both leagues!! What’s been going on prior to 2020 was absolutely ridiculous.

  5. I thought I would hate the DH but, after this past season, I realized how little I missed watching a pitcher flail at pitches or watching yet another walk with 2 outs to get to the pitcher on deck. It’s gonna come but not before the owners get something in return at the bargaining table.

  6. Forget about pitchers hitting, what an embarrassment, and a waste of my time. I’d like to see in addition to a DH, a DF [designated fielder]. A guy who can play defense, but doesn’t have to hit. So you basically get 2 DHs, and one DF. The DHs can’t play the field, and the DF can’t hit, for the rest of the game. I don’t watch sports to see guys do things they suq at.

  7. El brocko, sent you a reply, did you receive? I haven’t been on D.N. in a few hours , I would hope for now the Natinal League would continue to let the pitcher hit , like you say it takes more strategy to manage in the N.L. than it does in the A.L.

  8. Not having the DH in NL is going backwards IMO. What a joke to expect NL pitchers to bat again after not picking up a bat in over a year. And Pandemic aside, the same risk for injury to pitchers is real, considering what good pitching costs these days. IDK but it won’t be any safer for oitchers to have to bat again in 2021. Again, it’s wrong to have a different set of playing rules for each league.

    • That’s a good point about pitcher injury while batting and base running. They have enough problems with their elbows.

      • Exactly, Bum4ever. Case can be made that not only arise for pitcher injury, but the bottom half of lineup would most likle be pitched around with opponent knowing the pitcher’s spot is due up in the inning. Barnes,for example batted 9th when he was catching and got WAY better pitches to hit because they knew Betts was hitting behind him batting in lead off spot. With no DH, Barnes bats 8th and should he struggle again, we certainly can figure out why–because the pitcher hits 9th behind him, and that more often than not will end that particular inning.

  9. Guys please grow up, we are all here because we love the Dodgers, I know I sure do. I think I know why Tmaxster assumed Johnny was Covidiot, because what he said about about Fauci, I personally don’t agree with Johnny on Fauci, but I have nothing but respect for anyone who fights for this country, for me especially Vietnam, but brother we have to start respecting all Americans Dem. or Republican, we are Americans first, and in battle if your my battle buddy, I would die to save my brother because he is an American. My thanks go out to all the nurses, and Docs who work for this country, and around the world. As a fan I have watched for years when we had a runner on third and 2 outs, and a chance to win and the pitcher comes up to bat, and most of the time he strikes out or flies out. So yes I have been waiting for decades to see the league add a DH in the national league, and the owners for once think of the fans!?

  10. I don’t get Manfred that was the one good idea he had and he’s not going to do it. Instead we’ll end up getting the ridiculous playoff format and extra inning thing with the runner on 2nd

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