MLB Lockout: Is Universal DH 2022 Coming?

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We’ve been in MLB lockout for nine weeks with no end in sight as the league and players negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. Insider Jon Heyman reports The following on Wednesday:

“The talks have not started yet,” said a person on the player side.

That means the offseason remains suspended for now and no one can say for sure if the season will start on time or what changes the new CBA could bring to the sport’s financial structure. However, Heyman has offered another update on a topic from practice:

Barring something totally unexpected, at this point it’s safe to assume that the universal DH will come into effect in 2022. Both sides are in favor (while staying true to these talks, they don’t seem to fully agree on who benefits most from a DH out of all 30 teams)

Now that’s interesting! The addition of the designated hitter to the National League has been a hot topic for years, and finally making it a reality would be a big deal. Heyman makes it ring like a lock, with the only question being which side will have to pay for it.

The debate about the DH has been ongoing since the job’s inception in 1973. Some people love him, some hate him, and there are smart people on both sides, although much of the reasoning is a matter of subjective opinion in that no one can really be right. It’s been around long enough now that some people just never knew baseball any other way.

I personally am for the DH. I’m into an American league team so I’m used to it and I think it’s a more enjoyable sport. I don’t like watching pitchers struggle to do something they’re bad at, or seeing them injure themselves swinging bats or running bases, or seeing a 3rd-inning rally being ended because of the pitcher’s spot comes up, or when a pitcher acts, but must be drawn early for a pinch hitter. Double switches aren’t exactly a fascinating strategy no matter how much someone pretends to be, and the occasional pitcher hit isn’t worth the trouble.

Other people have different opinions. It’s good. I admit that there is a certain charm that the two leagues have different rules, but there is also a clearer logic when they play on an even field, so I could live with that either way.

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How might this change affect the Oakland A’s? They’ll have a DH no matter what, but seeing the 15 NL teams add one would presumably cause some ripples to be felt in the majors.

For one, there will now be 15 more entrants into the DH market every year. That means more competition for free agents, but also more potential landing spots if you have a hitter to trade. It could also see supply grow over time as more prospects seek a route to the majors, which have just doubled in width, and young players with big racquets but no gloves aren’t written off quite as quickly .

More DH spots mean more aging veteran star hitters can stay longer but without taking the bats away from the next wave of youngsters, just pitchers who have better things to do anyway. Defense could improve in the short-term as every NL team can hide their worst outfield player in 2022, and in the long-term because NL teams will no longer have to make tough decisions about whether to continue to force their DH stars into a corner in the outfield, with the they can’t really handle.

In the last 18 years, the AL has won the most games in 15 of the last 18 years, with one of the other years being a draw. A reasonable explanation is that AL teams have an advantage at home where they can use their hefty DH while the opposition doesn’t have a specialized player for the job in their roster, and while in NL parks all pitchers are bad at hitting, so there is no real advantage for the home team. If true, the NL could do better in the Interleague and get an extra boost in the World Series.

Like it or hate it, universal DH could be coming in 2022.

opinion poll

Do you support universal DH?

  • 81%
    Yes, add the DH to the NL

    (80 votes)

  • 18%
    No, keep the NL as is

    (18 votes)


A total of 98 votes

vote now

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