As I’ve said many times in the past, I have an irrational, subjective preference for pitchers batting because I was an NL fan as a kid and that’s just how that crap works.
But when I’m not being irrational and subjective, I believe it to be both inevitable and appropriate for baseball to go to a universal DH rule. MLB should do this because of the increased amount of interleague play, fairness considerations and that fact that pitchers can’t bat worth a spit anymore, and teams should not waste development time on pitchers teaching them to bat. An added concern — although one that is likely only temporary — is that offense is way down so let’s try to boost it a tad.
Over at Baseball America, Matt Eddy makes the latest and one of the most coherent and comprehensive arguments to this effect. He concludes that specialization is every bit as prevalent on defense and run-prevention as it is with DHs on offense, so why not allow that specialization to extend to both leagues:
Even if a hard-hitting DH such as David Ortiz supplies no value with his glove and next to nothing with his baserunning, how much different are his contributions to the offense than the run-prevention contributions supplied to the defense by the myriad matchup specialists and gerrymandered defensive alignments?
I would argue that the DH and the pitcher in today’s game are two sides of the same, hyper-specialized coin, one supplying value only to the offense and the other functioning as the key constituent of the defense.
It may take some time to get the DH in the NL given that team owners have to approve it and team owners are perceived to be strongly against it. But that’s no better a reason not to take the bats out of pitchers’ hands than some baseball fan’s or baseball writer’s nostalgia for the pre-DH days is.