How Adding the DH to the NL Could Help the Pirates in 2017 and Beyond

There has been a lot of discussion lately about how the National League could add the Designated Hitter in 2017, after the next round of Collective Bargaining Agreements at the end of the 2016 season. The DH issue is very divisive, so I’m not going to make this article about whether it’s a good or bad thing. For the record, I think it’s a good thing, as pitchers have no business batting when they get very little practice at this in the minors, and there’s no real strategy involved when making decisions involving a pitcher batting.

But I don’t want to make the article about why the DH should be added to the National League because I don’t think anyone is changing their opinions on the subject, and because it doesn’t seem to matter, since the DH to the NL looks to be inevitable. So instead, let’s look at how the DH could help the Pirates. And before I break it down, let me say that it looks like it could really help the Pirates.

2017: Even More Value From John Jaso

The Pirates signed John Jaso this off-season to be their first baseman until Josh Bell arrives. That’s a move which is very intriguing, due to Jaso’s bat against right-handed pitching. It’s also a move that comes with some concern, due to Jaso’s inexperience at the first base position.

It’s too early to tell whether Jaso will be able to handle the position defensively. The first look wasn’t great, although that’s to be expected in mid-January from a guy who has little experience at the position. I don’t think he could be worse than Pedro Alvarez, and with more focus at the position, I think he could be passable defensively.

But no matter how John Jaso performs, Josh Bell is the future of the position at first base, with the chance to give the Pirates their first non-platoon first baseman in several years. When that happens, the Pirates will have a stronger bench, thanks to Jaso. But if Jaso continues putting up his career numbers at the plate, then that’s a hitter you want playing a bigger role than off the bench.

If the DH does come to the NL in 2017, then the Pirates would have the perfect fit for the position with Jaso. They might still need a platoon for the position, and Jason Rogers (another guy with the potential for a strong bat and no defense) could be the solution from the other side. Having a guy like Rogers off the bench in 2016 would be tough, due to the lack of defensive value, but having him off the bench in 2017 with a DH would be a lot easier.

When Bell arrives, the Pirates will have three good hitters on the active roster, who all have defensive questions. That might create an issue in the second half of the 2016 season, but would put them in great shape in 2017 if the DH is added to the NL.

An Earlier Arrival For Austin Meadows, A Longer Stay For Andrew McCutchen?

The Pirates currently have the best rated outfield in the majors, and the group of Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco are under control through the 2018 season. They also have top outfield prospect Austin Meadows slated to begin the 2016 season in Altoona, and another top prospect, Harold Ramirez, also starting at that level (we’ll use Meadows in this example, but the same argument could be made for Ramirez if he’s the one who works out). Under a normal timeline, each of these guys could have a shot at making it to Indianapolis by the end of the year. They could then start the 2017 season in Indianapolis, with a chance to move up to the majors by mid-season at the earliest.

Unfortunately for Meadows, he would be blocked in 2017, and blocked for all of 2018. He may need that time to develop, but he won’t need three full years at the top two levels of the minors. If it wasn’t for the current outfield, Meadows would have a quicker path to the majors.

If the DH is added, then Meadows could arrive in 2017, if that’s when he’s ready. Or he could arrive in 2018 if the Pirates are set at DH in 2017 with Jaso and Rogers and he needs more time to develop. But the DH would remove that situation in the outfield where the Pirates could be holding back top prospects for a few years, all because their current outfield is too good and they only have three spots for their outfielders.

On the flip side of this, the DH could allow the Pirates to justify keeping Andrew McCutchen around beyond the 2018 season. Right now it seems like it could be foolish to bring McCutchen back on an extension. He’s a superstar right now, but he’ll probably start his decline around the time his extension started. And with Meadows (and Ramirez) in the system, the Pirates might end up getting the same production from guys who are on the way up on their career projections as a superstar beginning his decline. Even if the production doesn’t match, I can’t imagine McCutchen would provide $19.5 M in extra value (assuming $20 M a year for McCutchen, which might be low, and league minimum for Meadows). The Pirates would probably field a better team with Meadows in the outfield and McCutchen’s money going elsewhere.

But if the DH is involved, you could keep McCutchen around. His decline in value would be negated by the fact that he wouldn’t be on the field anymore, or as often. He would stay fresh in a reduced role, thus helping to avoid potential injuries in his age 31 and beyond seasons. It would no longer be a situation where the Pirates have a great young option and have to choose between McCutchen on the decline and the young player on the rise. It would be a situation where the Pirates could have both, while using the DH to soften the blow of McCutchen’s decline.

Opening the Door For Other Prospects

The Pirates have a few interesting prospects in their system who have no future in Pittsburgh. Jin-De Jhang has some good defense behind the plate, with great receiving skills and a strong arm, but his size leads to questions about whether he can remain a catcher for the long-term, with no other position available for him. However, he can hit, with some of the best contact skills in the system, which is what makes him an interesting prospect. The biggest question mark is whether he can stick at catcher and have a shot to be more than just a DH in the future. If the DH comes to the NL, that would no longer be an issue for the Pirates.

Carlos Munoz is in the same situation. He’s a great hitter with some of the best contact skills in the system. But he’s got questions about his defensive future due to his size. He’s limited to first base right now, and he’s working on his conditioning to stick at that position for the long-term. However, he projects to be a DH in the long-term, which currently gives him no spot with the Pirates.

If the DH was added, these types of prospects would have a spot with the Pirates in the future, without all of the questions about their defense.

  • I still feel the best way to compromise the DH rule into effect into the NL is to simply allow the home team to decide whether both teams play with or without the DH. This would also apply to AL teams as well. Let this carry on for about three years. If the consensus is that the majority of the time the home team chooses to play with the DH, then simply mandate that the DH be implemented all the time, eliminating the home team’s option to play without it. I think this format would create more strategy as a manager, especially if you are the home team. If a highly powered offensive team is visiting your ballpark soon, do you choose to play without the DH to weaken that offense or do you choose to keep the DH in effect by not weakening your own offense.

    Likewise, if a pitcher your team faced the last time the two teams got together for a series was brushing back / beaning some of your hitters, do you play without the DH to exact some revenge.

    My main angst against installing the DH in the NL is that it will allow pitchers to remain free of repercussions of beaning the opposing team’s hitters, regardless of whether the beaning was intentional or not.

  • Three things that I believe will happen over the next ten years in MLB…

    1. DH implemented in the NL or the home team being allowed to choose whether to play with the DH or without. The latter would also apply to AL home teams.

    2. MLB expansion to 32 teams.

    3. radical realignment based closer on geographical location. This would allow Pirates to play teams such as Indians more often.

    • Add electronic ball and strike and foul ball/home run detection – i hope! It is embarrassing that the umpire is left with so much discretion and power to reward and punish teams and players. The technology exists – can actually map the balls path in three dimensions within less than a second with existing technology,

      Also think we will see two waves of expansion – the first would add Montreal and Mexico City then a jump to 36 teams with a latin america four team division – Mexico City – San Juan – Havana and the Dominican Republic – Las Vegas would be added to allow Mexico City to join the Latin American group.

      Nine four team divisions would be interesting – and could set the stage for adding a European 4 team group later – to get to a more workable 10 4 team divisions.

  • There is no way the DH would be good for Pirates in the long term. It would just be one more need they would have to compete for with limited funds. We don’t have any long term advantage over any other team as far as growing our own in house DH. And I don’t see any chance in hell Cutch resigns for 20M a year so he can DH in Pittsburgh. If for some crazy reason he is here until 2018 I bet someone would throw at least 30 M AAV at him if not more for 4-6 years even at his age. By that point in time the cost per 1 WAR will probably be about 10M. He very well may get offereed near 40M AAV.

  • pirates should go back after Pedro if this is the case…..

  • I’ll go on record as saying adopting the DH is the only chance the Pirates have of keeping Cutch for the remainder of his career.

    So I have the choice between watching Cutch play as a Pirate for 10 more years or continue to watch an overmatched Pitcher strikeout with 2 runners on and 2 outs for the next 10 years?

    Just crazy!

  • There are some purists (for lack of another name) among us who hate this tinkering around the edge approach of the Charlie Finley’s in baseball. Yes, let’s double the mistake the American League made years ago, just to get the Hank Aarons into the game a little longer. Maybe we should have done this for Ty Cobb so he could have reached 5000 hits and for Babe Ruth, so he could have reached 900 HRs?

    Like Socialism, where does it stop, trying to make something better while in fact everybody is paying a price for it? What’s next, a tenth player designated to field for our weakest position player, an eleventh player designated to run for our slowest, fattest position player, etc.?

    How about this? A reflective white ball at night that shines in the dark but a more yellow Charlie Finley type ball during the day so we can see it in the stands from the upper deck?

    Please, leave the game alone. Ninety feet has worked out very nicely over the 100+ years. No more articles on how the Pirates might/could benefit from doing something crazy, bringing the DH to the National League.

  • Bah, DH is just a shitty rule.

    If you want to swing a bat, you’ve gotta play the field…and, for pitchers, if you want to be in the field, you’ve gotta swing the bat.

    Heck, even in football punters are required to make tackles…you don’t see Jordan Berry run off the field as soon as he kicks it and be replaced by a designated defender.

  • If there’s a DH in the NL in 2017…Huntington will resign S-Rod for the job.

  • What would Munoz’ prospect status look like/how would it change if the DH were to be added to the NL? He would become much more valuable…if you were to only look at how his bat could project into a lineup and not worry at all about his weight/conditioning/fielding. Would he not?

    • Not even freaking close.

      Come on now, people. Reality check.

      *League average* DH last year produced 114 wRC+. Think about this.

      There is no way in hell the Pirates have hitters of that quality wallowing away in their farm system unable to get a shot. And that’s only average!

      • “Hitters of that quality”.

        Idk, Osuna is putting up 120 wRC+ stuff, so he’s not so far away from being a legit DH option. Not a top DH, but a guy who might really benefit from the DH as opposed to having no place to play in PGH. Acting like Osuna no way in hell could be an average DH seems not reality like.

        • Luke I *promise* you the Pittsburgh Pirates *do not* have 110 wRC+ hitters toiling outside the Top 30 of their prospects. They just don’t.

          Can we have even the slightest bit of pragmatism in these conversations?

          • Pragmatism isnt the same as agreeing with your opinion, just in case you want to check yourself.

            Im not saying we have tons of guys able to show up right now and be a fine DH. But in 2 years, when the DH would actually come, we might have 1-2 guys that fit the bill when that day comes. Guys showing good offense without a real defensive position.

            Im not going overly rose colored or acting like we have a depth of DH types waiting and its no big deal that the DH comes. Im saying Jose Osuna isnt multiple galaxys away from being a potentially average DH, in 2 years, if and when the DH comes. He’s now shown the offense at an upper level.

    • We don’t evaluate prospects based on their potential fit with the Pirates. We evaluate them based on their potential upside as a player with any team. In this case, Munoz projects as a guy who will probably be a DH in the future. His value to the Pirates increases if they add the DH. But he still needs to answer a lot of questions about hitting in the upper levels and conditioning before his prospect status goes up.

  • The Pirates don’t honestly have any current prospects that project to be good enough hitters to appropriately man the DH position; at least not any that wouldn’t be massively wasting value that could be gained from playing the field, save for maybe Josh Bell.

    They just don’t. Not if the addition of the DH is a positive for them, relative to the rest of the league.

    If/when the DH is adopted, the Pirates will almost certainly be one of the clubs that will be employing the Pedro Alvarez/Chris Carter-types that are struggling to find work in this environment while using the spot in the lineup to also rest position players.

    • I think I actually disagree with you once, her, NMR. I think the Pirates have prospects who would be pluses in the field over other players who could be DHs: (peeling back the veil) I mean specifically Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen is a negative in the field whereas there are, I believe, players who could be positives in the field. McCutchen’s bat is a huge plus, likely better than any DH in the game today. Even as he ages the likelihood that his bat continues to play up/positive is definitely there.

      You mean to tell me that you, honestly, believe that a Pirates lineup that has McCutchen as a DH and Martin in CF, Polanco in LF, and Austin Meadows in RF isn’t a better lineup than what many other teams would be able to put out there even with HUGE priced DHs?

      Consider this: Andrew McCutchen has a career 144 wRC, .382 wOBA, and 4 straight years of 36+OFF value (fangraphs). That 144 is better than David Ortiz, the .382 is only slightly below Ortiz’ .390, and Ortiz has only 4 years of 36+OFF value (fangraphs) in his whole career. I do not think that it is too much of a stretch to say that Ortiz is potentially the greatest DH of all time.

      If McCutchen’s bat continues to play even close to his averages he is an incredible DH and we get increased value in the field in the process.

      • Cutch might be better served in LF and I can’t say with certainty what will happen going forward, but he’s hardly a butcher in the field.

        • He plays half of all his games in a park which had a left field larger than almost all centerfields in baseball…and his arm would be an even bigger negative on LF at PNC. Furthermore, the numbers say he is pretty damn bad in the field.

      • Missing the forest through the trees, my friend.

        Think about it this way…could you possibly imagine the outrage in Pittsburgh if Cutch were traded for a DH, regardless of how well he hits? Tar and feathers!

        Even as a below average defender, Center Fielder Andrew McCutchen is far and away more valuable than Designated Hitter Andrew McCuchen. Unless we’re talking about a crazy hypothetical where he’s extended and this strategy is used in his mid-to-late 30s, trading him for proper value is the far better move than using him as a DH.

    • Do you mean for the 2016 season? Or in 2017/18 when the DH could go into effect?

  • I’m baffled by those who want a DH. Hitting is integral to baseball. If one is concerned about what to do with the oldsters that can’t run or throw anymore (not pitchers), expand the roster to 27, and park them on the pine. Everyone needs to hit, including pitchers. The Pirates will be just fine.

    • All leagues want more offense. This is just another example of that. I dont doubt that it will happen, but I hope that in the process of it happening/being collectively bargained that the small market teams get something in return–you know, part of the other half of a “bargain.” Continued revenue sharing, reverse market-size distribution of national TV deals, and further restructuring of the draft/international signing rules.

  • Ok here is my read. Tim is warm and comfy in Florida John Dots Drecker has a much deserved day off. Tim throws a beehive at all his minions. That beehive being the DH. If I offended anyone I apologize. I hate the DH. Please all stay safe hope you have power and are enjoying your day. Tim please stay warm your public has spoken.

  • I hope this never happens. I love NL baseball and the decisions that come with it. F the AL and there p#ssy DH.

  • saying pitchers are bad at hitting isn’t a reason for the DH. It’s a reason to not have pitchers hit and that is in no way the same thing as the DH. I don’t know why people assume they are one in the same.

  • I hope the DH never comes to the NL….Much more strategy involved, you really need to manage with no DH. Also, the pitcher plays the field, that means he should hit. Give me a NL game to watch over the glorified softball league that is the AL. KC is the exception as the play like an NL team with all their small ball. However, I think it’s inevitable that the DH will be here, probably in 2017. I just wish they would leave the game as is….No NL DH and no computers calling balls and strikes. The replay I guess is fine, but they really need to clean it up. Seems like every game we sit through 15 minutes of watching a guy over slide 2ndbase.

  • Sorry Tim…
    Trout + Calhoun + any replacement level or better player is
    a better OF than The Pirates if Cutch continues his decline in WAR.
    Polanco could prove me wrong if he can get to a 4 WAR – but he has a long way to go to get there.

    • Lets wait and see how McCutchen plays this year before we really call him “declining”

  • The only thing that adding the DH to the NL will do is to ‘help’ me quit watching baseball and following the Pirates.

    Life will go on for me….just without baseball. With the differences in team salaries already distorting the game, all it will take is a move to the DH to be the last straw for me.

  • Growing up as a football and basketball fan, I’ve come to appreciate baseball because of the technical nuances of developing an organization. But outside of the lack of a salary cap, the thing that I always hated and still hate is that a professional league can have differing rules on something as foundational as who is allowed to play. Try explaining the differing DH rules to a non baseball fan, they seem to all see its absurdity. The rules need to be the same. But we all know the AL isn’t dropping the DH so looks like I’m forced to be pro DH

  • Ban the DH in the NL now and forever.

    • Add the DH, and you are losing the game of baseball, the way it has been played for over 100 years. The men running the game are idiots, many don’t understand what makes this game special. I don’t care what teams this move would help, I care about harming this great game.

      • The AL DH Rule was added in 1973 so you already lost your fight and the game hasn’t been harmed that I can see. And I don’t even like it, not one bit.

        • I have? If you haven’t noticed, the NL does not use the DH. I can’t stand watching the AL, as the DH is bastardized baseball.

  • What is missing from this argument is how the DH would help the Pirates to a greater degree than our competition. Every NL team has roster challenges and the points in Tims article could also be written about any other team.

    But does a DH put us at an advantage or disadvantage relative to everyone else? My guess is it actually puts small market teams at a competitive disadvantage, but I’m open to be convinced otherwise. This article doesn’t do that though.

    • Nailed it

    • Excellent point, and let me throw out the fact that the Pirates have invested heavily in Pitching – why would we want to infuse another hitter into the lineup to mitigate our unique strength in today’s game? The DH was and will always be a creation geared to putting more offense into the game. That is not beneficial to the Pirates of now or the near future.

    • This article isn’t about comparing the Pirates to other teams. It’s about how the Pirates have some roster decisions in the next few years that are made easier with the DH.

  • I read a lot of the comments below and think that everyone is overstating the importance of the DH. When I think of DH’s, Big Papi and Edgar Martinez pop into my head and then …. No one. Well maybe a Dave Parker in his declining years. I don’t have stats to back this up but the perspective that the DH is some fantastic hitter on the club just doesn’t seem to fit for me. It seems that the best usage of a DH is the dreaded Golden State model – rotating your players with “days off” from fielding. This would seem to fit Tim’s Austin Meadows model more than the model of carrying one or even two (Jaso/Rogers) players that don’t add value in the field.

    • I think this is the most likely outcome for the Bucs. I don’t see NH ever employing an all-hit no-field DH who will garner 500+ ABs.

      The average for the DH position over the past decade has been somewhere in the .262/.770 BA/OPS range with a 113-114 wRC+. In other words someone in the area code of David Freese or Stephen Vogt. Not a guy who puts fannies in seats or a guy who’s going to lead the team in jersey sales.

      And I’d fear the Bucs rotating DH would fare considerably worse than the MLB average.

      The only thing I’m really interested in as far as improving the product is for MLB to continue trying to speed the game up. I like NL baseball far more than AL baseball.

  • I want what I call a Dark Crystal DH. Where the hitter and pitcher are linked. If one gets pulled, the other comes out of the game at the same time. This still means double switches, and gamesmanship with the pitchers, but this should help the offense out as well.

    • I think that would be considered Quantum Entanglement. But scientists haven’t been able to successfully implement that yet at temperatures noticeably above absolute zero…

  • Adding a dl in the NL won’t help the Pirates at all. Teams like the cCubs will adding guys like Abreau or Cespedes while we are forced to develope our own or use lower end options like Jaso or Owens.

    We simply cannot compete financially and the dh will do nothing add a high salaried slot to high money teams to enable them to hide defensive deficiencies with a high prices thumper.

    • Agree – in fact it might hurt the Bucs. The self imposed salary cap of less than $100M means they can’t add a piece like Cespedes or afford to keep a bat only guy like Pedro on the roster

      • Should probably use 110 when asserting the notion that they impose a cap on themselves. Assuming one is even trying to be fair about the situation.

        • The assumption here is: if we decide to “spend more” other teams won’t just increase pro rata what we do? When you have a lighter wallet or short stack of chips, do you advocate rate and pay discipline, or a race to the bottom? Who wins that battle? Stop with the “pirates are cheap” angle and think about economics.

          • I have NEVER said the “Pirates are Cheap” – hell $100M is a lot of money!..
            But the FACTS are that the Pirates have decided to keep the payroll down to what they see as an affordable level and make a nice profit.

            I have ALWAYS said that they are free to make that choice – it is their team and their money.

            But I do believe that it will cost $120M+ to field a truly competitive team this year – and more than that next year.

            The strategy that worked for the last couple of years is not going to work as well this year IMHO – but as they say – that is why they play the games – hopefully I am wrong.

  • Bells your DH in two years if this comes to fruition.

    • Seems like Osuna (or Munoz as Tim points out) makes far more sense. While i dont think Bell will become a gold glover, in two years i dont see how he’s poor enough that he’s gotta be a DH.

      The only way, as i see it, that Osuna becomes a starting contributor is if the DH shows up and the team rightly moves him there.

      Id love to see both Bell and a guy like Osuna being able to get regular time. Or lets make it simply and keep Cutch 😉

      • Anyone want to volunteer and tell Cutch he’s gonna DH?

        Good luck with that conversation.

        • No player wants to hear he should only be a hitter, but he’s gonna hear that at some point. He’s not an elite defender now, and he’s just 29. So yeah, if he is stubborn enough to demand playing the OF well into his 30s he’s gonna be bummed out.

          I dont think its clear at all that Cutch would hate that proposal so much he’d walk for that reason. Hell, it’d give him a realistic way to stay in PGH so long as he gets compensated in a way he considers fair. Because barring him being cool at DH mostly, he’s not a Pirate in a few years. Nor is he great value on defense or the basepaths.

          • Easier said than done. One of many reasons there’s some bad contracts in baseball.

      • I’m gonna start campaigning right now for Cutch to be traded next off season.

  • There’s also the trickle down effect of having the DH in 100% of AA and AAA games, which gets an extra bat in the lineup for development purposes.

  • The cutch stuff and the outfield prospect argument makes perfect sense, except no matter what the pirates are not going to pay what it will take to keep cutch. The jaso/Rogers rational is humorous. If that is who your dh wil be hypothetically compared to others like kyle.schwarber. Come on, huge disadvantage.

  • The DH has done to baseball what AAU has done to basketball. No skills no desire to improve. Obviously you have been in favor of the DH for a longtime. Wow we need the DH so Jaso can contribute! How about having Munoz and Jhang learn their positions. This is where we are in America. Can’t produce you get a prize go on the dole or sit in your mother’s basement and play video games. You make good points based on today but in the long-term this is bad for the game. Every Latino will now swing for the fences. Every prep star will bring six bats to his high school game now instead of three and only focus on hitting. We will have Joe Torre in every MLB dugout worried about his 5 high priced no glove DH er’s to play. No thanks not interested. Oh I think Joe Torre was a slug of a manager.

    • Huh, I wonder why Tim did his best to avoid a discussion of the DH and it’s merits.

      • Let him espouse the managerial excellence of Joe Torre if he wants to start a discussion.

        • You missed or ignored my point.

          Lets debate the merits how the DH helps/hurts PGH and avoid almost everything you posted.

          • Confused with your point. What point? I stated in my opinion AAU ruined basketball. My corollary was that the DH will ruin baseball. That is my opinion. That is only my point. I love the Pirates but could care less how this benefits them in the short run. I used to love basketball on all levels but can’t watch it. My fear is that will happen to my love of baseball. Did I mention my thoughts about Joe Torre. Lol

            • How does adding the DH to 15 professional teams in the National League ruin baseball? The argument you’re making is an antiquated one about 40 years too late….and I don’t disagree with your argument at all!! Just that to make it in 2016 over 15 teams is too little, too late.

          • Luke I now need to shovel snow from my driveway and hope I make back to my warm living room.

            • Best of luck with that one, got a solid foot here in NYC and still snowing strong. Think i saw a guy get eaten by the snow drift earlier.

              • HartHighPirate
                January 23, 2016 1:24 pm

                Keep shoveling. NYC is a day behind DC. NYC gets the big hit Monday. Bloody Monday on Wall Street per January Barometer.

                • I’m hoping the markets continue rallying.

                • We arent a full day behind, you got hit roughly half a day before us (being a bit generous).

                  I’ve yet to see any actual weather report having any snow on Monday. You really arent accurate saying Monday gets snow.

          • this is an easy one….a DH added to NL CRIPPLES the pirates….imagine 9 professional hitters vs the pirates 8 (or less due to small budget boohoos) every game, 162 per year…as it stands, the pirates only have one guy currently proven to be able to hit at least 20 homers on the roster….slim times for the bucs in 2016…even slimmer in 2017 and beyond if this becomes law

    • You’re arguing that the DH is bad because it’s filled by players who can only play one side of the game. But the DH is needed because pitchers can’t hit, which is the same situation.

      • I used to be all about the National League game and love watching a good hitting pitcher…but there are about 10 of them in the entire league so over time I feel like it is pointless…with specialization pitchers rarely bat after the 5th-6th inning anyways so the time of the pitcher batting has just lost it’s flair for me. Especially when you think about the low offense environment now and the fact that the Pirates seemingly have nice hitting depth it’s time to just move on. I am 43 but it’s time to realize that some dude striking out 50-70% of his AB’s and jogging out grounders needs to go away. I’ll miss the times they do get on base and have to put on a jacket like a little kid though.

      • No I’m arguing that players will not develop skills. They are one dimensional. Your argument is based upon your desire for the DH. That’s valid I’m not interested in the DH. Most of your talented pitchers were also the better players on their respective prep squads. They were SS when not pitching. My argument is I’ve seen how one dimensional talent ruins the game. When a player does not need a certain skill set then the game is purely vanilla. I’m not interested in vanilla.

        • I neither love nor hate the DH, but its not a fair argument to act like the player playing SS and hitting in HS means he’s able to do so in a professional setting.

          A ton of capable hitters in high school go on to be poor hitters in college, and a ton of capable hitters in college cant do that in the pros. There are a very limited number of pitchers who hit great in college that translate that. Continued practice would help, but not enough to overcome the reality that the pool of talent is far greater and you arent seeing future non-professional players pitching 2-3 times a week.

          You’ve already got plenty of positions where guys dont develop skills. At least half of 1Bmen arent seriously developing their speed or defense. Hitting is, like it or not, what matters at about 2-3 spots already. I dont love the DH, but its not gonna suddenly make the game all about hitting….that already exists. Pitchers arent developing any skills, they are hacking and hitting .120.

      • You got that backwards, Tim. Pitchers today can’t hit anymore because the DH pervades all levels of baseball. In years of yore pitchers were a lot more competitive with the bat.

        • Check and see how many pitchers have lasic surgery and many different types of contact lenses to suit all game conditions. Very few of them have the minimum 20/15 vision necessary to hit in MLB. Then check on position players. The MLB average a couple of seasons ago was 20/13….after surgery and contact lenses.

        • They really weren’t. Pitchers in 2015 combined for a .131/.158/.168 line, a .147 wOBA, and a -16 wRC+.

          By comparison, in the year before the DH was added, pitchers combined for a .146/.185/.184 line, a .174 wOBA, and a 6 wRC+. The numbers were similar in the ten years leading up to the DH. The hitting was slightly better, but it was still very horrible.

          Now if we’re talking about 1900-1930, you might have more of a point. But even then, the hitting was bad. The best year from 1900-1972 was in 1930, with a .216/.261/.267 line, a .257 wOBA, and a 50 wRC+. That’s back in the day where you had two way players who pitched and played the field, getting much more work with the bat.

          Pitchers were bad at hitting long before the DH came around.

    • ” ….every Latino will swing for the fences ” ???? One of the most ignorant, and dumbest, comments I have seen here in a long time. I won’t even start listing non Latin players who do the very same thing, I have a driveway to clear. But you could start that list with Bryant and Schwarber if you like.

      • That’s the exact kind of comment that got Coward canned from ESPN.

        • I always knew Coward was stupid.,,and clueless. I got stuck listening/watching his show Thursday and he is as bad as ever.

      • The comment for how players left the Dom Rep – you don’t walk off the island. Never call me ignorant or dumb. Ya que mi madre de las madres fur de Columbia! You don’t know me and obvious you don’t have a clue of my background where I have been how I was taught and where I have lived. You should have been to my house January 3rd Dia de los Reyes Magos.

        • Growing up we knew it as the Feast of the Epiphany, and Christmas decorations remained in place until after January 6th. A different era, and it is good to hear of folks maintaining the old world traditions.

    • TurnerWardHitsTheWall
      January 23, 2016 7:40 pm

      Agreed, players need to make the effort to become complete players. Putting the DH inti NL baseball minimizes skills and strategy.

    • The DH has been around for a long time and the game hasn’t trended the way you’re talking about. Why would it start by adding the DH for 15 other teams? That creates the need for 15 additional designated hitters. So why would everyone at every level of baseball be trying for just those jobs, and not one of the other eight starting position jobs on the field?

  • I agree that in the short term the Pirates should benefit from the DH, though no more so than the Cards (Adams. Holiday) and Cubs (Schwarber).

    In the long run, though, the DH benefits high payroll teams as those players will tend to make more than the players they replace (utility fielders, middle relievers).

  • We can rationalize the DH being helpful in the short-term, but in the long-term it will hurt the Buccos. The DH would give greater value to aging free agents, an area where small market teams can’t compete. The Pirates possibly would not have been able to sign Jaso if the National League was using a DH–his market value would have been much higher. If you actually want a short-term reason why the DH would hurt the Pirates I can do it in two words–Kyle Schwarber. The Cubs would have a talented young lineup, a low cost DH and buckets of cash to throw at any free agent pitcher they want.

    • I’m more inclined to follow this thought process. While adding the dh may look good for out roster construction in a vacuum, I’ve got to believe that basically adding another position is not going to be a good thing in the long run for any team with a constrained budget.

    • Schwarber, to be a full time DH, will have to handle LHers a lot better.

      • Which is why we would have been better served to start Liriano in the Playoff game instead of Cole, even though in a general sense Cole is the better pitcher. Liriano matches up better versus the Cubs.

    • This is right, adding the DH helps all NL teams absolutely, but the important question is how it affects teams relatively.

  • Agree completely with the entire article, perfectly articulated & a big reason why I want the DH.

    • Agree completely with the entire article, perfectly articulated& and a big reason why I Hate the DH.

  • Clemente this morning. (Photo from