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Rob Manfred says DH in the National League “is a continuing source of conversation”


Missed this yesterday, but Rob Manfred, fresh off the quarterly owners meetings, said that the DH in the National League, while not imminent or agreed upon or anything, is moving closer to reality. From WFAN:

Following the quarterly owners’ meeting Thursday, Manfred indicated that progress has been made on an issue that has been hotly debated for decades.

“I think that is a continuing source of conversation among the ownership group, and I think that the dialogue actually probably moved a little bit,” Manfred said.

I probably don’t need to rehash my feelings on the matter for the eleventy-billioninth time. Short version: (a) as an NL-leaning partisan I like pitchers batting subjectively, for reasons that are hard to explain but which are wrapped up in emotion and custom and habit and all of that; but (b) it makes no logical sense for pitchers to bat because they can’t do it well, Major League clubs have no desire for them to even pretend to do it well and because having two sets of rules for the leagues is unfair and works to the disadvantage of AL teams when playing in NL parks.

The opinions aside — and I know you have yours and will fill the comments with them — the discussion of an NL DH could serve as a point in labor negotiations going forward, given that position players and DHs tend to make more money than the last arm on a pitching staff, and thus the players may very well want 15 more DH jobs. Not saying that cuts too deeply, especially given that there are very few full-time DHs anymore — only four guys have qualified for the batting title at DH in the AL this year — but it’s not nothing. I can imagine Major League Baseball offering a universal DH to the players in the next CBA in exchange for something else.

Either way, I feel like we’ll have it within the next ten years or so.

Cardinals extend José Martínez through 2020

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First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.

Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.