Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The 2020 season brought many changes to Major League Baseball, including a new three-batter minimum rule for pitchers and a runner starting on second base in extra innings.
Arguably the biggest addition, however, was the implementation of a universal designated hitter that eliminated the need for pitchers to bat in National League games. The new rule proved beneficial for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who used the extra spot to give various players opportunities throughout the year.
The club wound up hitting a league-high 118 homers during the abbreviated 60-game regular season and additionally broke the Atlanta Braves’ NL record for most home runs hit in a single calendar month.
While many players and coaches are in favor of the universal DH sticking around for the foreseeable future, recent reports indicate it could exclusively return to the American League next season.
According to Jim Bowden of The Athletic, team owners are willing to keep the universal DH intact for the 2021 season if the union agrees to an expanded playoffs or another trade-off:
The clubs feel that if they are going to agree to the universal DH, they want something in return, whether it’s an agreement for expanded playoffs or any other trade-off that makes sense.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred hopes that both the universal DH and expanded postseason return for the 2021 season. However, the Players Association is not particularly fond of the latter.
An easy solution would be to tweak the expanded postseason format so that fewer teams qualify for October baseball. This was the biggest gripe from players last season, as they felt 16 teams participating in the playoffs was excessive.
Reaching an agreement that allows the universal DH and a modified version of an expanded postseason to return next year makes sense from both sides’ perspective.
Friedman: Dodgers must ‘assume’ NL won’t have DH for 2021 season
Though a universal DH could be agreed upon any day now, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is operating as if it won’t return to the NL next season.
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