The Dodgers used the Universal DH better than anyone in baseball last year. Dave Roberts took full advantage of it, getting guys days off their feet while also keeping hot bats in the lineup. Losing that in 2021 will be a little of an adjustment.
Granted, it was only a rule-change for one year. But the DH in the National League ended up being a very well-received transition by players, coaches, and front offices. Dodgers pitchers have talked often this Spring about how they would prefer to have it moving forward. Understandably so, since pitchers are just there to pitch.
But Dave Roberts isn’t ready to give up hope for the universal DH in 2021. The Dodgers manage told media before a game this week that he would still very much like to see it instituted, even this close to Opening Day.
Well I just think it [DH] gets nine hitters in there. It’s hard enough to hit so now you’re getting pitchers that really are overmatched at the plate and not very successful, sacrifice bunting. So I think we talk a lot about the fan interest, and I think fans would want to see a hitter hit rather than a pitcher.
A manager not wanting his pitchers to hit is completely reasonable. It’s not a very competitive at-bat in the first place but now add in the extra factor of not stepping into the batter’s box all year. And while some Dodgers pitchers have got their at-bats in during Spring, not one has said they would be against a DH.
The rule change might not be popular among the baseball purists, but it made a big difference in 2020. That also allowed for more job openings in the league with the need to fill a spot in the lineup. For the Dodgers, it allowed them a whole lot of flexibility.
Unfortunately, the fate of it in 2021 lies in the hands of Major League Baseball. They are currently holding it hostage in hopes of getting extended playoffs this year, something the Player’s Union has been adamant about avoiding.