The 2020 season came with plenty of changes in MLB. The universal designated hitter was one of the more favorable rule changes among players, despite experiencing some early backlash. Despite the rough start, the Player’s Association is hopeful that the DH rule will stick moving forward.
Unfortunately, it’s not going to be that simple according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Owners around the league want the Player’s Association to accept the expanded playoffs for 2021 in exchange for keeping the universal DH. It would make sense from the owners’ side, who are all looking to make up for the loss of revenue in 2020.
Passan also notes that most owners likely want the universal DH to stick around, despite using it as a bargaining chip. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense for MLB pitchers to go back to hitting after taking an entire year away from it.
The problem is that the expanded playoffs weren’t really popular among any teams or players aside from the fringe teams that barely made it in this year. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred even said that while he would like to see expanded playoffs stick around, he knows it cannot stay at 16 teams getting into the postseason. Manfred has floated the idea of 12-14 teams and not the usual 10 teams.
Whatever MLB and Players’ Association decide on, the rules are bound to change once again in 2021. And even those rules may not be permanent, as the current Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire after the 2021 season. Hold on tight baseball fans, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
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