DH – The Lightening Rod

I used to be against the DH, but then I became totally indifferent because it is not a question of it, but rather when.  The DH in the NL is inevitable, get used to it.  This is not the NLB and the ALB…it is MLB.  MLB is the only professional sport where the rules are different for one group of teams compared to rules of another group of teams within the same association.  There is no 3-point play in the Western Conference of the NBA but not in the Eastern Conference. The playing fields are not 100 yards for the NFC and 110 yards for the AFC, as they are in the CFL.  Rules are consistent. Sure the AL could end the DH and the two leagues could have consistent rules then, but that isNEVERgoing to happen. So, the DH is coming whether you like it or not.

The DH has existed in the AL since 1973.  I do not see how the image of baseball has been damaged one bit because of the DH.  If you are less than 50, chances are you have no real recollection of the game without the DH. Not my choice, but we now have a full time DH in the HOF (Edgar Martinez), and probably another in a few more years (David Ortiz).  The DH in concept and now practice, has been accepted.  I am not saying people have to love the idea, but with the inclusion of Edgar Martinez in the HOF, there is no going back.

But in light of rule changes in MLB, the DH is a minor blip.  The big change in MLB came in 1969 when the pitching rules changed significantly. The most dramatic change was lowering of the pitcher’s mound from 15 inches to 10 inches.  Many of us were around in 1968, AKA the “Year of the Pitcher”, and yet we are still fans after such a significant change to the game. In 1968, 7 individual pitchers had ERA’s less than 2.00, led by Bob Gibson’s unworldly 1.12 ERA.  I am constantly reading in MLB publications about pitchers with ERA’s around the mid-4.00’s, which are described as “respectable”.  In 1968, 13 of the 20 TEAMS had ERA’s less than 3.00, with the worst team ERA being 3.64.  In 2018, there were no teams with a combined ERA less than 3.11 (Houston).  The Dodgers were #2 at 3.38.  That 1968 team ERA of 3.64 would have been #3 in 2018.  In total, there were 13 teams with ERA’s less than 4.00, and 17 teams greater than 4.00, with Baltimore an embarrassing 5.18.

MLB was certainly concerned about the obvious resultant lack of offense.  Seven teams hit .230 or less, with only three teams with a BA .252 or greater (2 at .252 and Cin at .273).  NYY had the worst team BA with a .214.  The ChiSox scored an average of 2.86 runs per game, with the Dodgers and Mets not much better with RPG less than 3.00.  Carl Yastremski won the AL batting title with a .301 BA.  Pete Rose led MLB with a .335 BA and a total of 6 MLB batters had a BA greater than .300.

On December 3, 1968, an MLB rules panel got together and voted to lower the mound 33.33% from 15” to 10” hoping to put offense back in a venue meant to entertain.  In addition to the lowering of the mound, that same group changed the strike zone from:

that space over home plate which is between thetop of the batter’s shoulders and his knees when he assumes his natural stance.The umpire shall determine the Strike Zone according to the batter’s usualstance when he swings at a pitch”to:

“that space over home plate which is between the batter’s armpits andthe top of his knees when he assumes a natural stance. The umpire shalldetermine the Strike Zone according to the batter’s usual stance when he swingsat a pitch.”

This was just one of 6 strike zone changes from 1950.  Below is a link to the strike zone changes from 1876 to today:

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/articles/strike_zone_rules_history.shtml

Is it any wonder that the AL was so concerned about the lack of offense so much that they instituted the DH? The idea of the DH was actually started in two 1969 ST games.  On March 6, 1969, two games utilized what was called the Designated Pinch Hitter; two expansion teams, Montreal Expos and KC Royals, and NYY vs. Washington Senators.  MLB nixed the idea at the time, but five minor leagues, including the AAA International League, adopted the DH in 1969.

Charley Finley and 7 other AL owners officially adopted the DH rule for the 1973 season on a three-year trial run, that has not gone away.  In 1973, fittingly NYY and BoSox were the first to utilize the DH in a regular championship season game. The Yankees’ Ron Blomberg walked against Boston’s Luis Tiant.  In 1973, the AL posted a higher batting average, which has remained intact through the 2018 season.  In addition, attendance at AL games increased measurably.

In August of 1980, the NL actually met to vote on the use of the DH which was expected to pass at the time.  However, when informed that the rule would not take effect until 1982, Philadelphia’s VP, Bill Giles, needed to confer with owner Ruly Carpenter before voting.  He could not reach Carpenter and abstained.  Pittsburgh GM, Harding Peterson, was instructed to vote with the Phillies, and also abstained.  Final vote tally, four teams for the change (Braves, Mets, Cardinals, Padres), five against adopting the change (Cubs, Reds, Dodgers, Expos, Giants), and three abstentions (Phillies, Pirates, Astros).  The Yes/No vote thusly failed.

MLB now wants to be consistent in their rules, MLBPA wants the universal DH rule, and the NL would welcome the additional offense.  Thus, the push to give the NL the DH as soon as possible.  I do think NL teams may have acted differently this winter were they aware of the possibility of the DH coming in 2019, but I believe that it was the DH’s that were harmed more than the teams.  Players like Nelson Cruz would have had a multitude of NL teams interested in his bat had the DH been adopted after the WS.  Even teams like the Tigers could have received quite a haul for Nicholas Castellanos had he been available as a NL DH this year, or Edwin Encarnacion.

Apparently, MLB believes that there needs to be a metamorphosis to enhance offense, which owners believe sells.  There is now talk about moving the pitching mound back, which the MLBPA has reportedly NOT said no to.  Also, more talk on lowering the mound even more.  The strange thing is that with more offense, the games will undoubtedly get longer, but neither side has used that argument.  If MLB wanted to reduce the length of games, they should go back to pre-1968 and raise the mound by 5 inches, back to 15.  Pitching will once again dominate, reducing the number of base runners, and the additional time tending to base runners.  So, it is not the length of the game that is the most pressing bullet point in change, but offense.  If the game is exciting, the less relevant the length of the game seems. At least that is how I read the tea leaves. 

While the DH seems to be a lightening rod of sorts, it really is not that massive of a change that will turn off even the most ardent of the DH detractors over a long period of time.  Just like the 10-inch mound, AL DH, instant replay, the game moves forward and memories seem shorter.  The DH coming to the NL will not have any impact for me on the game that I love. 

This article has 101 Comments

  1. AC, thanks for the history lesson and doing a nice research job. The absurdity of having one league playing with different rules goes by unnoticed and unprotested by the vast majority of fans and baseball personnel. They’ve accepted something so unfair and lopisded for decades and now that attention has been cast upon it, fans don’t want to change it? Insane. It is a glaring point of contention that is illogical and makes no sense. The faster this changes (this year, I hope), the faster we can move on from this debacle and focus on changes for ALL of baseball.

    Moving the mound back, doesn’t feel like an intuitively correct move. Currently, pitchers and Tommy John surgery, have become synonymous. It seems injuries would only multiply and I don’t see why this change is a vital thing to consider. It’s risky for the pitchers.

  2. Very informative article, for me it has never been the length of the game but how boring many games had become. Watching the Dodgers play home run derby or bust last year was for me not much fun, and I totally agree with you, If the game is exciting, the less relevant the length of the game seems. Letś see what rules are adopted by MLB and see if some excitement can be added to the game. Very nice AC.

  3. I said that the DH was coming this season… and it still might. BB1439 has it right – It’s not how long the game is, it’s how exciting the game is long.

  4. The time issue is more about pace of play than it is about the time it takes to complete a game. Additional offense is time well spent (at least when the Dodgers are hitting), while watching pitching changes and other mind numbing drags on time isn’t (unless I need a break to get a snack or time to take care of business).

    Bring on the DH. If it adds a little exciting time to the game, well, that’s a good thing. And maybe it saves a little time when the manager is not forced to waste any of it going to a pinch hitter, and maybe we get to see a bunch less bunts.

    1. You have two breaks each innings to expel beer from your system and to get snacks. 😉 All the pitching changes is the biggest drag on the game.

  5. As mentioned, it is rather absurd to have a different DH rule for the NL and AL. It seems even more absurd at WS time and also has to be used with NL and AL affiliates in the minor leagues. Therefore, it is long past time to make the change. I’m not sure how significant the run production in each league is but I expect an average of .50 runs or so per game is significant as it is an average.
    .
    https://www.teamrankings.com/mlb/stat/runs-per-game
    .
    I accept this has to come and should have long ago. I am an old timer and prefer the game without a DH. I am not thinking of enticing new fans or anything like that. I like the strategy that the NL demands without a DH but my interest in the game will not diminish regardless of what changes come. I will always, however, have my opinion of how I prefer things to be.
    .
    One change being talked about is starting a runner on second base in extra innings. That just seems little league and perhaps overly played because there are so few long extra inning games per year. Each inning in extra innings is a bottom of the ninth inning. The bottom of the ninth in a tie game is always entertaining. Starting the runner on second has the potential to often take the bat out of the hands of a Mike Trout, etc. with an IBB . I suppose on the other hand it cuts down on everyone looking to end it with a home run swing. I doubt this is in any serious discussion – use in ST, All-Star Game – and will never happen in league play. In fairness, it does seem to work well, in my opinion, at the minor league level.
    .
    This is an article I write a while back about starting a runner on second base.
    .
    https://www.thinkbluela.com/2017/02/mlb-lets-play-t-ball/

    1. The problem with extras is all the pitching changes. How about, once you get into extras, pitchers have to go at least a full inning? That will cut down on the time and increase the chance of scoring and breaking that tie. If you have to remove a pitcher due to an “Injury”, then you can’t use that pitcher again for a couple of days. I also like limiting the number of pitchers on the 25 man to 12. Then you will have to manage your pitchers more carefully leading to less changes. Maybe pitchers will stop max effort knowing they will be pitching to more than just a batter or two. Nothing infuriates me more than having more than one pitching change during an inning. Maybe it’s just as simple as limiting the number of pitching changes per inning that will increase offense and lower game times.

  6. If the DH and its additional offense is so popular, wouldn’t we see that reflected in attendance numbers? The numbers show the opposite. 4 of the top 5 teams in attendance last year were National League teams. It stands to reason that fans like the NL style of play better. Let’s just get rid of the DH in AL instead. I would rather implement the 3 batter rule before the NL DH. That would keep the game moving while also adding offense. Sure, Big Papi was fun to watch at the plate, but let him play 1B and see if he can stay on the field. Hell, if you want to increase offense, use an electronic strike zone, juice the ball, don’t let players use cheat sheets for positioning. Some people think that strategy and roster management is an interesting part of the game and would gladly sacrifice, on average, half a run per game to keep the strategy. Could you imagine not letting the pitcher hit in youth leagues? Sorry Johnny, you’re pitching now so you can’t hit. That stupid rule is completely unnatural. Banish the DH completely. The fact that only 1 DH is in the Hall of Fame shows you what a bad idea this was. Fast, tell me all your favorite players that came into the league as a DH. It makes no sense that they want to change the rules of the more popular league to match the less popular league and I hope the NL owners make a stand against this nonsense.

    As far as your argument about the ALB and NLB, you’re quite wrong. We do have a American League and a National League. The other sports have one league with 2 conferences. We have two distinct leagues. Who says that more scoring makes the sport more attractive anyways? If that were the case, the NBA would play in front on 50,000 fans in the summer. The most popular sport in the world is soccer. What do you think of all those high scoring World Cup games? This is simply an overzealous commissioner trying to feed his ego. Manfred is turd. Don’t ruin our sport!

  7. I’m thinking the DH comes in 2020. The owners and GM’s will argue that they need time to find and add DH players to their rosters. Probably a bogus argument, but one they will likely use.

  8. All this talk about the DH is sure taking my mind off the failure of the Dodgers for missing out on JTRM. Thanks guys!

    Nothing makes my blood boil like talking about adding the DH to the NL. And then to actually talk about implementing for the start of this season, now that all the roster planning is just about complete is absolute nonsense. The lack of planning shows how stupid this idea really is.

    1. 59inarow

      It isn’t going to happen, so don’t let it get you down!

      It hasn’t exactly handicapped the American League teams, in the last couple World Series, so this is just talk more then anything.

  9. This argument is academic, the rules should be the same in both leagues and the AL is never going back to pre 1973 rules so the DH is coming to the NL, the only question is when. It would not hurt the Dodgers who would play many different players there but mainly Muncy. They could more easily find a place for a guy like Rios or the departed Calhoun. Except for baseball purists no one wants to see a pitcher hit.

    The elephant in the room is electronic balls and strikes but DC brought up the point of bringing back the high strike as even balls at the letters are now balls. The zone has been shrinking at the top of the zone for awhile now. The strike zone could be changed but each umpire’s zone will still be subjective and calls will be missed. That is the change I want most, electronic strike zone plus curtail batters stepping out on every pitch and pitch calls coming in to the catcher from the dugout. Both slow down the pace of play. I’m not sure if a pitch clock helps in this regard or not.

    1. The pitch clock would not be used when runners are on base and yet that is when pitchers slow the game down the most. I would make a pitcher pitch or throw to a base within 20 seconds. Keep something happening. And, if a pitcher throws to a base then the clock restarts but with 15 seconds and then 10 seconds etc.

      I would say either cap pitchers at 12 or make each pitcher throw a minimum of 10 pitches and intentional walks don’t count toward the pitch count. Pitchers could be changed between innings without regard to number of pitches thrown. Or, make them pitch to 3 hitters or until the inning ends whichever comes first. Just do something to limit the number of pitching changes.

      I also like the union’s proposals to penalize teams that don’t try to win. Maybe do like the NBA and let the draft picks be determined by weighted luck of the draw.

  10. Switching gears, the big 4 are still out there and I think the Dodgers have another move left in them. There are some interesting candidates left unsigned for a minor league deal with ST invite. I like Buchholz, maybe Fister or Storen and would Adam Jones take such a deal? Evan Gattis is unsigned and hoping the DH is expanded this season. Cargo, Gio and Marwin Gonzales; catchers like Weiters, Hundley and Maldonado; former friends Forsythe, AJ Ellis, Romo, Hudson, Hatcher, Ballerina Brett, Hanley, Axford and Madson plus a bunch of other guys with names like Moose, E. Santana, Gallardo, etc. I’m not saying the Dodgers should be in on all these guys, just that at this late hour there are a lot of players still unsigned including the 4 biggest FA’s. There will be some bargains here and some will pay off, time to get busy Andrew!

  11. Having a clock is a must to curtail subjective mental states of pitchers and coaches. We all remember how Baez would take his sweet time between pitches and most of us complained about it. It’s boring waiting for a pitcher like that to finally throw the darn ball. 20-25 seconds seems logical and doable. All other pitching modifications seem like an affront to creative management during a game. Why shouldn’t a pitcher be brought into the game for 1 pitch or 1 batter? This is what a manager might feel appropriate for the situation. Why shouldn’t situations like this be left up to the club? This is where the individual steps up with creative tactics. If Doc wants to screw the pooch later in the game by using his arsenal of relievers mid-game, that’s his choice as manager. If it works, call him a genius. If it doesn’t, call him out! A good manager will know what he’s got and who can do the job the most efficiently.

  12. Kill or at least modify the shift and offense will increase. 34000 instances of the shift last year??? That is nuts. Too many traditional ‘up the middle’ hits are taken away. It is soooo frustrating to watch.

    1. The shift, like the salary structure, provides an un-level playing field.

      I love the glib ex-players and fans who bleat that a guy who has been
      a slow-footed left-handed power hitter all his training life (sometimes
      a couple decades and more), should now be bunting for an occasional
      base hit.

      From Skeptic House: bases on balls should be optional – make dull-the-
      game and win-at-all-cost managers deal with good hitters, every at-bat.
      And/or – second walk to a kid like Harper should be two bases. Treat it
      like a double re guys already on base. Third walk, a triple.

  13. Without the DH I believe Muncy will be the starting second baseman. He has expressed that second is his favorite position (probably because it is the only open starting spot), lost weight to increase his range/speed and he was already the 6th fastest guy on the team. I just feel that he will surprise us this spring with his defense.

    I am with Mark and at this point in time I would like to see this line up. Only platoons in right and left unless Verdugo hits so well that he has to be in the line up everyday.

    LF Joc / CT3
    SS Cory
    3B JT
    1B Cody
    CF Pollock
    2B Muncy
    RF Verdugo/Kiki
    C Barnes

    I can’t wait to get started. Years ending in 9 haven’t always been kind to the Dodgers, but this year will be the 60th anniversary of our 1959 World Championship.

    1. I’m also in the Muncy 2B camp. I like the lineup though I look for Cory to start season on DL … ah, IL … and CT3 to start as SS.

      Bench to start – Kiké, Freese, Toles, Martin. If no injuries, Toles with his options is getting the OKC/LAX frequent flyer miles

  14. Most others in on Realmuto were willing to surrender 1 big piece but not a 2nd big piece. Marlins sought 2 of May, Lux, Ruiz and Smith from LA (after it was clear Bellinger was going nowhere) and 2 of Riley, Pache and a big pitching prospect (ie Wright, Wilson, Anderson) from ATL

  15. It’s time for Dodger Business. This front office will make an excuse to not sign Mike Trout.

    1. An excuse like, he either didn’t want to leave the Angels or wanted to go home to Philly?

      For the record, I would trade the entire farm system for Trout, but I don’t think he’s going anywhere other than the above.

    1. I don’t know if I would trade the entire farm system for Trout like Bluto, but Bluto is right that this is a mute point, because of the reasons Bluto pointed out.

      Try not to get to upset about Harper and Machado, because those two, are not in Trout’s class, but no other players are.

      But the Dodgers do have a player that has about the same baseball mentality that Trout has, and he will be back even stronger, this year.

  16. Sorry I’m a true blue dodgers fan but I have to say being the best in the national league doesn’t win you a ws ring! We have been to the world series 2 years and a row and got our butt handed to us, so yeah I’m a little pissed that there not going all in on some players! I’ve never turned my back on the dodgers nor will I ever, but I feel there not trying enough to go all in and win a world series. Screw the analytics of baseball and play ball! Go for the players that have proven themselves

    1. in 2017 we got to Game 7 of the World Series. If you didn’t know, that’s as far as you can get. There is no game 8 or game 9.

      I don’t think we got our “butt handed to us” in 2017. Now 2018? That’s a different story

        1. I’m still bitter over that game 7 loss. I had to walk out in the bottom of the 9th because I didn’t want to see Houston celebrate on our field

          1. Bobby

            I am sorry you had to sit there, then walk out in the bottom of the ninth.

            I turned my channel even before the bottom of the ninth.

            I am more bitter, about game four.

  17. I am against the DH, however if it is necessary to make a change go all out. Increase the roster to 30 and have an offense and a defense. Why should you make a place for a player who can hit but not field any more than making a place for a player who is an excellent fielder but can’t hit? Some players would play both ways

    1. A pitcher is lucky to get 3 PAs every 5 days and make the team with their arm. Position players make the show with their bats.

    2. lol- Good one! Shows how ridiculous a DH really is. Maybe you should get rid of pitchers all together and make every player play every position, rotating each inning. That should make for more offense and offense good. Do it!

  18. I dislike the DH – it removes too much strategy from the game. And I don’t see why the NL and AL have to have the same rules.

    Look at how long games used to take to play. The big culprit in pace of play is multiple pitching changes and then the little chess match on switching hitters and pitchers once a change has been announced.

    Average game length 1960: 2:38
    1977: 2:25
    2000: 2:58
    2012: 3:00
    2017: 3:08
    Recent rule changes brought the time down from 3:08 to 3:04 in 2018.

    Pitchers per game per team 1960: 2.45
    1977: 2.53
    2000: 3.54
    2012: 3.99
    2017: 4.22

    Pinch hitters per game per team 1960: 1.56
    1977: 1.21
    2000: 1.19
    2012: 1.14
    2017: 1.13 (note: the AL started using the DH in 1973 so PH/g went down.)

    The other thing that has changes is pitches/plate appearance. Baseball Reference.com has records that only go back to 1999, but between 1999 and 2018 P/PA has increased from 3.74 to 3.90. So – if speeding up the game is the be all and end all, do we require hitters to swing earlier in the count and reduce the number of pitches thrown in the game? Or maybe encourage better contact and fewer strikeouts (which would also have the advantage of making the game more interesting to watch)?

    1. I was watching a Manager on TV last year when we still had lots of strategy in the game and was entertained. He clapped his hands, spit, and yelled at the umpire. It was great. And then I got to watch a pitcher strike out. That was fun too.

    2. Rick is right, there is just to much dead time in a baseball today, it isn’t necessarily the length of the games.

    3. dodgerrick said: ‘And I don’t see why the NL and AL have to have the same rules.”

      Really? Please give me an example of any sport in the world where the rules are different for side A and side B.
      This is so basic that there is no explanation that will make sense.

    1. It turns out that the drop in velo was a result of a knee injury he was playing through. It doesn’t mention that in the article. Lazy reporting as they so often do on that site.

  19. Dodgers Non Roster Invitees to ML Camp:
    .
    Pitchers:
    • RHP Stetson Allie
    • RHP Joe Broussard
    • RHP Daniel Corcino
    • RHP Tony Gonsolin
    • RHP Dustin May
    • RHP Kevin Quackenbush
    • LHP Josh Smoker
    • RHP Jesen Therrien
    • RHP Mitchell White
    .
    Catchers:
    • Will Smith
    • Josh Thole
    .
    Infielders:
    • Daniel Castro
    • Omar Estevez
    • Gavin Lux
    • Jake Peter
    .
    Outfielders:
    • Ezequiel Carrera
    • Kyle Garlick
    • Paulo Orlando
    • Cameron Perkins
    • DJ Peters
    • Shane Peterson

      1. I don’t think any will break camp on the 25. Gonsolin may be up by summer. A few younger prospects may see time in September – Lux, Peters, Smith. Thole, IIRC, has an early opt out if not on MLB roster. Don’t expect to see him unless catching goes quickly south with significant injuries

      2. None of those guys will break camp with the team. As MJ said, I very bullish on Jesen Therrien. He is going to need some time in minor league camp to get the rust off since he has not pitched in about 18 months recovering from TJ surgery. He is also going to be monitored. But he is going to be called up at some point as they are not going to take a chance on losing him.
        .
        Lux may get a call in September to experience MLB. If he continues his development he will be a candidate for the 25 man next year. I will be very interested to see how much time at 2B he gets, and how long before he gets called to OKC.
        .
        Stetson Allie will be fun to watch. He has a very strong arm but no idea where it is going yet. I am not as big a fan of Joe Broussard as others are. Gonsolin and White are potential September call ups as they are Rule 5 draft eligible next year. Dustin May has one more year before he needs to be protected, but if he is pitching well he also could get called up. But they may want to keep him on their time clock. Regardless he is in the rotation by 2021.
        .
        Will Smith will get called at some point this season, but I do not see any OF getting called unless DJ Peters can somehow find a way to make consistent contact. Both Smith and Peters will be Rule 5 draft eligible next winter.
        .
        One player I was surprised to not see on the list was Jordan Sheffield. Maybe they just want to keep him in minor league camp to continue with his transition to full time reliever. But he is going to be Rule 5 eligible next winter.

      3. Castro, Quackenbush, Carrera, Orlando, Perkins and Peterson are out of options but would probably not get claimed if DFA’d to start the season. I think Orlando could be something, the rest minor league filler.

    1. Jesen Therrien is AC’s pick, but he may not come up until the same time Morrow did in 2017.

      And Morrow was AC’s pick too.

      1. that’s an awesome list. And I’m sure Ruiz will get a shot later on as well, just to get him some experience with the big boys. It’ll be fun to see how some of these kids look.

        1. Ruiz is already on the roster and Beaty…they will both be in ST. I agree they may get a shot, but also may need injuries which is how CT3 and Muncy got their chance.

          1. Oops…meant Rios not Ruiz. What if Martin recaptures some magic? He may surprise some folks.

    1. Sounds like not until 2021 CBA renegotiation. Makes sense as to timing. Though as I said below, it’s inevitable so anytime.

  20. I think we have to remember there is a difference between length of games and pace of play.

    I would like to see sub 3 hour games but that is not the major problem.

    Pace of play is how quickly things move from one event to another. Shortening that interval is where changes will have an effect. Pitch clock, not stepping out of the batters box, decreased pitching changes, decreased mound visits are all things that will directly increase pace of play. Lowering the mound may indirectly increase the pace by putting more balls in play.

    These changes may also decrease game length but that is just a bonus.

    Electronic balls and strikes is more of a consistency issue that pace—I’m all in on that given some of the inconsistent strike zones we are seeing.

    I’ve given up fighting the DH. I don’t like it but it’s happening, so just do it. I’m fine with it in 2019.

  21. Much has been made of the height of the mound being 15 inches until 1969 being the greatest factor in the plummeting of run scoring and offensive productivity. In my opinion, however, the greater factor may have very well been the raising of the top of the strike zone to the top of the shoulders from the armpits as was noted by AC in an article he wrote and highlighted in this post. Almost no hitter can hit the high strike consistently and raising that height 4-5 inches made it almost impossible for the batter to also be ready for the breaking ball down in the strike zone.

  22. **MEDIA ADVISORY**

    DODGER PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT TO SPRING TRAINING TUESDAY

    WHAT:
    Dodger pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Tuesday, Feb. 12. Manager Dave Roberts will be available to the media at approximately 10:30 a.m. at Camelback Ranch-Glendale.

    WHEN:Tuesday, February 12
    Approx. 10:30 a.m. –Dave Roberts available to media

    WHERE:Camelback Ranch-Glendale
    10712 West Camelback Road
    Phoenix, AZ 85037

    MISC:Dodger pitchers and catchers will have their first workout on Wednesday, February 13, with the full-squad reporting on Feb. 18 and holding its first workout the following day.

  23. It still seems highly unlikely, but apparently Harper is looking at possibly accepting a two or three year contract which could bring the Dodgers back in play. It makes sense to sign a three year deal and have it run out when the CBA is due to expire and he could be in position for another large payday after MLB gets their hand spanked because they do not want to hand out the outrageous contracts. You know revenue share to players is going to be a big discussion, and the big money clubs will undoubtedly get back in the game.

    1. AC

      Are you saying you think the Dodgers were once in play?

      But at the same time saying it is very unlikely at the same time?

      Your pretty good!

      But that may kill 59inarow.

    2. Totally agree, smart move to sign a 3 year deal. Looks like Clayton was wisely ahead of the game this offseason.

  24. If Harper signs a two or three year deal I think he’ll be a Giant. Don’t see the Dodgers still needing him after the Pollock signing.

    1. Harper is not going to a team that has no chance to win and even with Harper, the Giants won’t win.

      I think the Dodgers and Yankees are in play.

      1. Agreed, no farm system. Aging and expensive roster. Why sign a 3 year deal with a team that has no chance of competing in the same 3 year window.

      2. Man if Friedman somehow swung a three-year deal for him. I’m officially out but the longer he’s unsigned the chance is non-zero.

  25. I think it is possible would give a 3-5 year $35 Million a year deal to Harper, even though they say they will not go over the LTT. They would get back under it next year.

    The thing is, they do not have to do it to win, but if it helps their chances then they would likely be in.

    The issue of Mike Trout came up earlier and you need to realize that the Mike Trout who will maybe be a free agent will be 30 that year. So far, we have been watching the 19 to 27 year-old Mike Trout. If you sign him at age 30, you are running a huge risk. Even a 5 year deal could blow up in your face. How will he age? I know this, he won’t be in his prime anymore.

    The Dodgers are looking for the next Mike Trout, but if you sign the 30 year-old Mike Trout to a 10-year deal, I would bet money, you will crash and burn.

    The MLBPA is preparing for a bitter fight in 3 years and Manfred (who was in favor of the DH) is not going to give them anything now… as Tony Clark and the rest are posturing. He will save it until 2021, so I think it’s dead until then. That’s a shame.

  26. Well, I am very happy to hear that the DH is NOT coming to the beloved National League for at least 3 more years. Thank God I don’t have to read more discussions on the subject for a while. I swear I really worked myself up on that subject. Just like the prospect of the Dodgers signing Bryce Harper, I choose to believe that the DH in the NL is NOT inevitable until it happens. Plus, I can’t wait to watch Tony Gonsolin hit! Yes, that’s right. I love watching pitchers hit, even Rich Hill. And I love it when they’re proficient at getting a bunt down.

      1. Of course not, too slow and uncoordinated to play the field. How could they possibly do that? I’m worked up because it removes strategy from the game. The AL style of play is boring. Just about everyone on this site says they don’t like the all or nothing style of play that the Dodgers had last year and are proponents of a new approach with the new hitting coaches. Then you come back and say you want the DH. The American League invented the all or nothing style because of the DH. Like I said, if it was so great, the AL would sell more tickets, they don’t. All the arguments for the DH are silly at best. Baseball has been played far longer without a DH than with one. The players union should focus more on getting the young guys paid, then to pay guys even more money at the end of their careers, after they’ve already made enough money for a lifetime. The DH sucks. Never liked it, never will. And if you want pitchers to hit better, get rid of the DH at all levels.

        1. 59

          I looked at the top ten DHes in 2018, and most of those DHs were all or nothing hitters.

          At least 8 of the ten.

  27. I think there is great reason to be worried about the new MLBPA Agreement. The MLBPA doesn’t like the fact that the rich owners aren’t giving out stupid, moronic, insane, dumb, idiotic, asinine, long-term deals to players. They are going to dig in. There could be a work stoppage.

    If I were an owner, I would dig in, call up a AAA and AA team of players. Triple their salaries, re-mburse the minor league teams and cut tickets by 75%. I would wait them out. Tony Clark would put out a hit on me.

    1. I’m not for any work stoppage and I think teams and players should negotiate in good faith to share the revenue that the sport generates as a whole. Small market clubs need more of cut. Players deserve their share as well. At the same time, the good teams shouldn’t be penalized for being good and the crappy teams shouldn’t be rewarded for tanking. That’s why it would be a good idea to start allowing teams to trade draft picks. Small market teams can get more creative by possibly sending a high first round pick for more prospects, or even money so they can resign their own, or build a core more quickly. At the same time giving large market teams an opportunity to draft higher.

      Anyways, today is a good day, a small victory for my fellow purists. And Spring Training is right around the corner. And March 1st, the unoffical start of So Cal Spring is also right around the corner. I’m a little extra grumpy lately because it’s been so cold! 47 degrees when I read your site every morning. I can’t wait till this cold snap is over.

    1. You already have an ignore option, Rudy. Please feel free to not read what I post. But, I’ll keep reading yours. After all, how could I resist such compelling comments like “I’m glad AF stuck to his guns on this one.” and “So much for the DH for the time being”. And thanks so much for posting a link to one of the sites that I book marked. Without you, I might have missed that one!

      1. 59, I retired from the wine business in 2016. The last thing I need is to get into the whine business, which you seem to be proficient at.

  28. I agree with 59. No DH. I would much rather have a pitcher try to move a runner over with a bunt, even if he fails than watch a DH strike out swinging for the fence. Had my fill of that approach last year and that without the DH.
    Watching the manager navigate the pitching changes and other options seems more interesting then having a DH.
    As a matter of fact I pretty much like the game as it is. Didn’t realize there was anything wrong with it.

  29. Dang, I’ll be 70 when the next CBA is ratified. My daughter will be 42. She acts her age… but I don’t!
    BTW, she is a mortician… pic was at the Funeral Home.
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

      1. Mark

        I always thought you had light hair.

        You don’t look almost 70.

        I don’t feel the age I am either, so keep it up, and remember 70 is the new 50.

        1. My hair has been white for 10-12 years. It used to be black, My daughter tells me I should dye it. I say “Why, so I can pick up more chicks?”

          I feel good and work too much, but I like it. 12 hours today… Life is good!

          1. I didn’t think you looked close to 70 when we met last year at Dodger Stadium. Keep doing whatever you’re doing!

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