Welcome to February, Los Angeles Dodgers fans. Baseball returns this month! We think.
Over the past few days, Major League Baseball and the Players’ Union have been discussing what the 2021 season will look like.
MLB sent a proposal to the Players’ Union on Friday which included plans for a 154-game regular season, but with full pay for players. The start to the season would be delayed by a month, with play to begin on April 28. The playoffs would then extend into November. The plan also included plans to have the universal DH.
The Players’ Union formally rejected MLB’s proposal leaving some ambiguity about the timing of the start of the season, and whether or not the National League will have a designated hitter.
Waiting until the last minute is not new for MLB and the Players’ Union. Last season, an agreement was reached just hours before the start of the season.
Of course, last season was unlike any other we’ve ever seen. One would think that MLB and the Players’ Union had all winter to work things out, for teams to be able to know how they will construct their lineups. As everything sits right now, there will be no DH in the National League, and the Dodgers will have pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch by February 17.
Dodgers fans are also still awaiting to see who might be the starting third baseman for the team. There is nothing new on the Justin Turner front, just the same old verbiage of “both parties want to reunite but are far apart on years.” Other teams have been checking in with Turner, including the Braves. If the Braves, or any other team for that matter, are willing to give JT an extra year, we may never see the defacto team captain in Dodger Blue again.
A new name has surfaced on the Dodgers rumor front. Reportedly, Nelson Cruz is interested in joining the Dodgers if the DH does indeed come to the National League. The 40-year-old right fielder and DH has been playing in the major leagues since 2005. Still, last season he hit 16 homers and posted a .303 batting average. He hit 41 home runs in 2019 while with the Minnesota Twins.
The Dodgers used the DH to rest their regular players some last year, changing almost every game, and didn’t utilize it like most American League teams do, having a regular designated hitter. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t change their philosophy for a season.
Cruz would be the power right-handed bat that the Dodgers were looking for, especially if they don’t re-sign Turner. If they have Edwin Rios take over third base duties, they’d be able to slot Cruz in the top half of the lineup, essentially replacing Turner’s bat.
We will continue to wait and see what happens. While other teams are making big moves, we just need to remind ourselves that the Dodgers don’t need to make any big moves, but adding some certainty to what the roster will look like would sure calm some fans’ worries.