Will the National League and American League soon play the game under the same set of rules?
During his stop in Cardinals’ camp, Tony Clark, the head of the MLBPA, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he thinks discussion of a universal designated hitter “will likely come up as a topic in the next round of collective bargaining.”
The current CBA expires Dec. 1, 2016 and talks over a new CBA are expected to begin in next winter. Clark said adding the DH to the National League has been “a topic of discussion going back the last two bargaining agreements.” Clark explained nothing has changed and reports Tuesday suggested the DH rule could be used as a bargaining chip between the owners and the MLBPA.
Tony Clark, like the rest of baseball, is concerned about Interleague games being played late in the season that could determine playoff spots or division titles and teams having to compete under a different set of rules. Either a National League team that is not built for a DH or an American League team having to play without one of its best hitters in the lineup.
“Considering how the game has progressed I can see how it would move more to the forefront than it has in the past,” Clark said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I can tell you that was a concern. That was a concern when we started to talk about evening out the divisions and how that would manifest itself over the course of interleague play. The idea that you would be in September with a possible division (title) on the line with one team who was not used to having a DH or a team that was used to having a DH not having it and how that could affect the overall outcome.”
“As you might expect we are very concerned about the integrity of the game and having scenarios or situations play out like that that could affect inevitably how a division ends, is not a place you want to find yourself.”
The Sporting News’ Jesse Spector thinks it’s not a matter of if, but it’s a matter of when the designated hitter rule, which has been in the AL since 1973, will be incorporated in the National League.
As Jesse Spector pointed out, the amount of money being paid to starting pitchers is only going to increase. And teams would rather have starters, like Jon Lester, focus on their primary job and not hitting. Plus, pitchers hitting increase the chances of an injury occurring to a nine-figure investment doing something they are not being paid to do.
The designated hitter rule is not going to be removed from the game, as some purists have hoped, if anything it’s going to be added to the Senior Circuit so all 30 teams play under one rule and construct rosters the same way.
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