A major hurdle to the 2021 season getting underway on time is now thankfully in the rearview mirror.
Major League Baseball and the MLBPA agreed on health and safety protocols for the upcoming season. They’ll include shortened seven-inning doubleheaders and extra innings beginning with a runner on second base. But any of you traditionalist Cubs fans out there will be happy to hear that, as of right now, the universal DH isn’t returning – at least not yet.
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Last year, we saw the designated hitter deployed in both the National and American League. Now, let me be clear: this is a fluid situation and the two sides could yet change course on this matter. We know there are still ongoing discussions regarding other aspects of the game, as well, most notably an expanded postseason field similar to what we saw last year.
Cubs: Expect more changes on this front
But if the season were to start tomorrow, pitchers would take hacks for themselves.
Even if that remains the case as talks continue in the weeks leading up to the season, this may very well prove to be the final year we don’t see the DH in both leagues. There’s a CBA battle looming after the season and there’s cause to believe this will be a focal point in those talks.
As for the Cubs, it might be for the best that pitchers (again, as things currently stand) will hit for themselves. Why? The team has a complete lack of depth and it’s not like they have a guy they could just drop into the DH role and call it done. Of course, pretty much anybody can contribute more than the average NL pitcher, but it’s not like Chicago is swimming in depth and could really use that extra slot to get a guy regular at-bats.
I’m sure as teams report to spring training next week, we’ll continue to get updates on the health and safety protocol front. You know the league is eyeing that expanded postseason field due to the revenue boosts tied to it. We’ll keep you posted as more updates come to light.