After weeks of rumors, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed a crucial rule change for the 2022 season.
The National League won’t have the pitcher hitting anymore, as the universal designated hitter will be implemented.
Robert Manfred announced that MLB has agreed to a draft lottery and a universal DH pic.twitter.com/6hDbrXognb
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) February 10, 2022
That way, the American and National League will play under the same rules regarding the use of the designated hitter spot.
Many fans have recently defended pitchers hitting in NL parks because it opens up more opportunities for bunts, strategy, hit and run, and other similar plays.
They say it’s a longtime tradition in the NL to have pitchers hit and it’s part of the charm of the game.
It’s certainly a valid opinion.
Teams And Players Can Both Benefit From The Universal DH
However, both teams and players wanted the universal DH, and both sides can benefit.
Teams will now be able to field another competent hitter in the lineup as opposed to a pitcher, someone who likely didn’t train to be competitive at the plate.
Here is some proof: pitchers hit .110/.150/.142 in 2021, covering 4,829 plate appearances.
They only hit 17 home runs.
Most of them went out there to make a fool of themselves, or just to do nothing and hope to avoid being hit by a pitch.
Yes, there were some memorable hits and home runs by hurlers, but the vast majority of them are just not qualified to hit in the major leagues.
Players will have an additional spot to earn playing time.
Overall, we can expect the offense to increase a bit in the NL now that designated hitters will replace hitters, provided the same baseball is used in 2022.
The universal DH rule was something that players have wanted for a while, but owners hadn’t agreed to its implementation up to this point, likely because they used it as a bargaining chip.
However, Manfred announced its implementation in what could be the toughest moment of negotiations, with spring training very likely to be pushed back because of the lack of a deal in collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations.
A Crucial Meeting On Saturday
After an owners meeting on Thursday, the Commissioner confirmed that the league will make core economic proposals to players on Saturday.
So far, Manfred said spring training games remain scheduled to start in late February, with training camps opening a couple of weeks before that.
However, for that to happen, there would need to be substantial advances in talks.
At the moment, both sides are just too far apart in core economic matters, like minimum salary, competitive balance tax (CBT, or luxury tax), and compensation for young major leaguers.
There was talk about a pool to compensate players with 0-3 years of service time who achieve certain finishes in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) rankings.
Both sides agreed to the pool, but players want owners to put $100 million on the pool and MLB is stuck at $10 million.
My takeaway: Manfred said #MLB will offer a good-faith, positive" proposal.
As we all know, "good" is a point of view. Is it good in the eyes of the owners or the players? Once we get that answer, our view on the season's start date will become much clearer.
— Chris Halicke (@ChrisHalicke) February 10, 2022
Yes, the universal DH rule is nice, but the truly important economic matters will be discussed, once again, this weekend, when MLB is making, in the words of Manfred, a “good” offer.