Yesterday former GM and current ESPN.com contributor Jim Bowden wrote the article “Time for the NL to adopt the DH”. In the piece he discusses that he is pro National League rules but with the new baseball schedule for 2013 the most import decision is to make the league rules uniform.
“Having two sets of rules unfairly puts teams at a real disadvantage depending on whether their game is at home or on the road. To alleviate this, baseball must synchronize both leagues with one rule”
In his view the easiest path forward is to add the DH to all National League teams as opposed to taking the position away. There are 3 main points why taking away the DH is too difficult; current GM’s will not agree via a majority vote, the players association will not agree to remove a high paying position and pitchers having to hit increases their injury chances.
Personally I agree with his premise. Removing the DH is significantly more difficult than adding it to the NL and the rules need to be synchronized with the new schedule in 2013 which has an inter-league match-up every day. I feel I am more of a baseball purist and since I am a fan of a National League team, I tend to gravitate to the National League style of play. I love double switches, I love when there are runners on with two outs and the pitcher is up (more-so when it’s the other team), but the reality is the DH is not going away. There is always the argument of increasing the roster size to 26 while removing the DH so jobs are gained and not lost. Why the MLBPA will never agree to this is a bench player’s salary is closer to league minimum while a good DH can fetch over 8 million dollars.
So what the hell does this have to do with the Mets? I’ll tell you why… Who is going to be the Mets DH next year if the rule change occurs? When I think of a DH, I think of those typical power hitters that wouldn’t make it through the first round of “Dancing with the Stars”. Guys like Cecil Fielder, Adam Dunn, David Ortiz, Edgar Martinez and Harold Baines. There are 2 players that most Mets fans agree need to get off the field as soon as possible, Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy. Duda definitely fits the mold of a masher and is closer to a player like the DH’s listed above, but if I had to choose an option from within the organization, my choice would be Murphy. I understand Duda’s miss-play from last night is still fresh in everyone’s heads, but a move into left field is probably more sustainable than keeping Murphy on the field at any position. Murphy will never be a good fielder. He wasn’t in college, he wasn’t in the minors and he is not in the big leagues. What he is, is a very valuable contact hitter. He is also very methodical in his approach. He is constantly trying to make adjustments and improve. Being a quality DH is more than just being able to hit the ball, it is about being able to sit on the bench and stay mentally focused for your next at bat. To me Murphy would thrive in that position. Take away the stress that he has trying to work on defense and let him focus on the one task that he is good at, and maybe just maybe he will hit that home run.
The other aspect to take into consideration is who fill in the position void for 2013 and that will take a palm reader at this stage of the game. Den Dekker is doing his best to make the club next year while Jason Bay is doing his best to stay at home. So to me Duda in LF, Den Dekker in CF and Nieuwenhuis in RF could be the way forward with Torres on the bench. Will Reese Havens finally rise up and let Murphy off the hook? The free agent market is pretty grim as well. Share your thoughts on what you would like to see.
To read Jim Bowden’s article (you need ESPN Insider access) go to: http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/the-gms-office/
Scary Pat Burrell image from Tauntr.com