One of the noteworthy items that has largely been overlooked as MLB and MLBPA negotiate over the possible resumption of baseball in 2020 is that there appears to be, as Jon Heyman notes, a “general agreement on universal DH for 2020.”
Adopting a universal DH would be a huge topic of discussion that would have baseball fans raging and arguing at top volume in normal times...but of course, these aren’t normal times. With COVID-19/Coronavirus forcing the league to delay the start of the season, and with the likelihood that an abbreviated schedule will mean more interleague games with a scheduled that’s designed to limit travel, it is sounding like it will be a given that there will be a DH in both leagues in 2020.
The question then becomes, will that carry over to 2021 and subsequent years? The MLBPA has been pushing for a universal DH for years, given that it is a full-time position that results in a higher salary for a player than a bench role would, and it allows veterans to extend their careers. Fans are split, from what I’ve seen, with fans of American League teams generally supportive of a universal DH and fans of National League teams being opposed.
Talk was that a DH in both leagues would be happening fairly soon regardless, and this may be the impetus to go ahead and adopt the rule permanently. There will be some squawks about how the DH isn’t how baseball is supposed to be played, but pitchers aren’t treated like position players, and expecting them to hit as well as pitch is kind of silly. The DH was being suggested a century ago, so it isn’t like this is really all that new. And pretty much every league, other than MLB, around the world uses a DH.
So maybe we can chalk this up as one positive thing that might come about as a result of all this.