Could we soon see a designated hitter in the National League?
While speaking to members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday, MLB Players Association chief Tony Clark said that the universal use of the designated hitter across leagues is "gaining momentum" among players.
"Players are talking about it more than they have in the past," Clark said, via MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.
For quite some time, the National League has contained a large following advocating for pitchers to hit. Although many American League fans prefer the excitement and additional hitting of the designated hitter, the classic feel of NL lineups appeal to others.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred believes changes will be difficult to implement and will take time.
Commissioner Rob Manfred on universal DH: "If you get rid of the DH in the National League, there is a brand of baseball that is done. I think there is going to be some hesitation with respect to that."— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) July 17, 2018
Manfred on concept of DH in both leagues: MLBPA has been receptive since 1987 but "the most likely outcome remains the status quo."— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) July 17, 2018
Clark also spoke about last year's slow free agent market.
“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said.
He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.”
During the All-Star break, Astros ace Justin Verlander voiced his opinion and believes MLB should get rid of the DH.
“I would take the DH out, even though I know the National League is talking about implementing the designated hitter,’’ Verlander said, according to USA Today. “For my pitching purposes, it’s fun to face guys like me who can’t hit. But I do think, for instance when we were in the World Series, the Houston Astros are playing the Dodgers, when we are at Dodger Stadium, we were a little behind. We were not used to hitting, bunting and things like that."