How Does Absence of Designated Hitter Affect Dodgers’ Lineup?

The National League after just one season of the universal designated hitter may see it gone. As Andy reported yesterday, MLB told NL teams to expect that there will be no universal DH next season.

Of course, this changes how teams approach free agency and where some free agents ultimately decide to sign. The Dodgers benefited in October having Will Smith, Joc Pederson, and Justin Turner among others split time at DH. No universal DH would have also changed some situations in the World Series in a National League ballpark setting.

First, it is one less bat in a stacked Dodgers lineup, and it can change how the Dodgers negotiate with pending free agents Kike Hernandez, Turner, and Pederson. As we all know, the Dodgers have great team depth, as manager Dave Roberts will have to be selective with who gets at-bats.

Overall, it does give a slight edge to American League teams in free agency due to that extra spot.

There is slight hope the universal DH stays, as owners and the players union are scheduled to meet this week and discuss the situation. The universal DH was implemented during the shortened season due to fear out of pitchers sustaining injuries. From the beginning, it was understood the rule was only one season long.

The DH spot also helps teams when rehabbing players back from injury easing them back into options by just hitting instead of a full slate of fielding and batting.

Ultimately, the Dodgers are better positioned than other teams offensively, but the DH is still a nice asset that helped the Dodgers reach the pinnacle of the majors.

Don’t get me wrong—I personally love the “pitchers who rake movement,” but the universal DH spot does for more baseball overall, and in reality, better positions teams.

Without a DH spot, it is hard to see the Dodgers bringing back Pederson; he already platooned in the outfield and may look somewhere else for a full-time starting spot. However, Turner could be likely to come back due to him being the everyday third baseman. During the regular season, the Dodgers played Turner in the DH spot a total of eleven times.

Others who saw time at DH, were AJ Pollock, Corey Seager, Edwin Rios, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, and Mookie Betts.

Overall, the Dodgers should still be one of the better offenses in baseball—with or without a DH. The spot just allows players to give players a day off or having an extra bat in an already stacked lineup. However, the Dodgers may want to see a definitive answer from the league soon, as it can affect their free agency plans heading into the winter.

4 thoughts on “How Does Absence of Designated Hitter Affect Dodgers’ Lineup?

  1. I can’t believe that MLB let the DH decision drag this long. Then, instead of saying “there will be no DH in 2021” they say “don’t count on it”.
    The owners and players should have met and made a definite decision last month and allowed NL teams to plan accordingly. Just one more situation where MLB has been wishy washy on settling a matter of importance.
    I was definitely no Bud Selig fan but I had high hopes for Rob Manfred when he took over. I’ve been very disappointed.
    Time for him to step aside and let Theo Epstein take over.

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  2. Typical owners, We all know that baseball wants the DH to even the leagues out. But instead of doing the right thing, the owners use this like a carrot, they are trying to use this to get the MLBPA to give concessions elsewhere. Am I wrong or isn’t it Manfreds job to do what’s right for baseball? The next time the owners put what’s best for baseball and the fans first, before their pocketbooks, will be the first time.

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    1. Actually, you’re wrong Keith. It’s Manfred’s job to do what’s best for the owners. They’re the ones who hire him. If baseball really wanted to do it right, the owners would hire a representative to bargain with the players’ representative and then they would both get together to hire a commissioner who would do things for the good of the game.

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  3. Yeah Jeff Manfred screwed the pooch on this one. Now the NL gets hosed again because baseball is probably, sorta, maybe not, gonna have a DH this season, they think! That should make it so much easier for the NL to put their teams together.
    I’m sure that the owners will figure out a way to make it look like it’s all the players fault, they always do.

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