After navigating through almost the entire offseason, baseball fans, owners, and players finally have clarity regarding the upcoming structure and rules for the 2021 Major League Baseball season.
As reported, this upcoming baseball season will go back to 2019s rules regarding the designated hitter as well as play-off format.
Depending upon your personal preferences this news may make the more ‘traditional’ fans happy for pitchers will now take at bats again for at least one more season. If you are in favor of universal DH, don’t fret, there are likely more negations between MLB and MLBPA to come in the future.
Perhaps the greatest news that was announced was that the season appears to still be on track to start on its originally planned dates.
The decision to proceed without the universal DH in 2021 perhaps impacts the Milwaukee Brewers the greatest.
Without the luxury of not having to play defense everyday, no DH likely will be a huge factor for Ryan Braun whom is still pondering the idea of returning or retiring. Braun’s workload has been managed quite well over the past few seasons in which Counsell often times would not start ramping up his playing time until the final stretches of the regular season.
With the shortened season last year, managing a work load really was not an option. In 2020 Braun was in the starting lineup 34 times with about half of his starts (16) coming at the DH position. If that same pattern would have continued throughout a normal 162 game season the benefits of having Braun’s bat in the lineup more consistently likely would have been very beneficial.
The other potential issue no DH has on the Brewers is the fact that Dan Vogelbach is the teams only ‘true” first basemen on the 40 man roster. Unfortunately, prior to arriving in Milwaukee Vogelbach was viewed more as a DH type player only while in Seattle.
This makes signing an additional player who can defensively handle the first base position even more crucial. If the Brewers bank on Vogelbach’s defense being up to par and they are wrong, Stearns will be scrambling and desperate to find another option at that position. Some currently available options on the free agent market are: C.J. Cron, Mitch Moreland, and Jedd Gyorko.
While clarity on these issues has finally come to fruition, it does have an immediate impact on the Brewers. I am glad that it is at least encouraging that the season will start on time, but the fact there will be no DH certainly makes this a bittersweet feeling.