Chicago Cubs: How would a universal DH affect this team?
With talks of a designated hitter being implemented league-wide, we take a look to see how this would affect the Cubs offense
For years we have had the debate on whether or not to implement a designated hitter into the National League. The NL has made pitchers bat for 46 years, and many are starting to push to put an end to that heavily. There are pros and cons to adding the DH, and we take a look at how this change would specifically affect the Cubs.
The obvious pro to this is that offenses become much more dangerous. Not only that, but pitchers also get to spend more time resting, which it hopes would keep them more focused/sharper. On the flip side, however, pitching gets that much more difficult not having any ‘easy outs’ per se.
The grind through the lineup becomes much tougher as now instead of a pitcher batting, who we oftentimes see give half effort at the plate to stay rested, we get someone who is paid just to hit. The whole mindset changes, and offenses should elevate as a result.
The question for the Cubs is, how would this rule change look for them? The obvious candidate for the Cubs designated hitter would be Kyle Schwarber. He has generated comments his whole career about how he best fits on an American League team to serve this exact role. However, Theo Epstein has been unwilling to let the left fielder go, as he committed to his character and talent when he selected the Indiana product as the 4th overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft.
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As much of a dedication Schwarber has made to becoming a respectable left fielder, I believe he would be the ideal fit for the Cubs DH. We saw how his shift in focus to fielding when he was initially adjusting to life in the outfield negatively affected his presence at the plate.
It’s been a battle for Schwarber, but he has shown he’s finally adjusted to the outfield, and his offense has shown a return to form. I believe taking him off the field and strictly putting him at-bat would do wonders for not only him as a hitter but for the team’s offense as a whole.
The Cubs offense struggles with consistently, so to add a player who’s coming off a 38-home run season to a strictly offensively role would help add some fire.
Opening up left field also gives more opportunities for Ian Happ to build off an awesome to return from Triple-A in 2019 while sticking to the commitment to Albert Almora’s development in center. Don’t forget a hungry Steven Souza having a chance to earn some valuable playing time in his return to the field after his ACL injury in 2019.
While the Cubs don’t have any pitchers that can surprisingly hit, unless you count Jon Lester’s occasional pop, adding the DH would provide so much flexibility for this team to reach their ceiling truly.