Clayton Kershaw thinks the NL offers a better brand of baseball. (USATSI)
Over the next 11 months, we’re going to hear an awful lot about the NL potentially adopting the DH. The current collective bargaining agreement expires on Dec. 1, so if MLB is going to make the DH universal, there is no better time to do than with a new CBA.
There are very good pro-DH and anti-DH arguments to be made. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers ace and resident NL pitcher, is very much anti-DH. He considers NL ball a better brand of baseball. Here’s what he told J.P. Hoornstra of Inside the Dodgers:
“It’s just a better game. It really is,” Kershaw said. “Baseball’s a two-sided game. You’ve got to play offense, you’ve got to play defense. I know there’s a lot of great hitters that DH, I’m not trying to take anything away from them, but they all started somewhere. They all played first base, all played a position. They all still could do it if they had to. That’s the truer fun of baseball.
“Selfishly, I love taking batting practice. Hitting in the game is fun, too. I would miss that part of it for sure.”
Kershaw, 27, has been one of the better hitting pitchers in recent years. He’s put up a .182/.227/.215 (25 OPS+) batting line with one home run since 2011. The average pitcher hit .130/.160/.170 (-8 OPS+) in 2015.
I’m a pro-DH guy, but I can understand why so many want to leave the NL as it is. I do think it’s only a matter of time until the NL adopts the DH though. If not with the next CBA in December, then at some point in the next few years.
Teams are paying their pitchers more and more with each passing year, and owners are going to want to protect their investments. Adam Wainwright blew out his Achilles running out of the batter’s box last year, remember. Also, the MLBPA figures to be pro-DH because it means 15 more well-paying jobs. DHs tend to make much more than bench players.
My guess is we’re still a few years away from the DH coming to the NL. I would be very surprised if it was part of the next CBA. It does feel inevitable though. Maybe the CBA after next.
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