A universal designated hitter rule is expected to be approved by MLB players as part of a proposal from the league to start the season, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman.
Read full video transcript below:
Kaitlin O'Toole: A universal designated hitter rule is expected to be approved by Major League Baseball as part of a proposal from the league to start this season. Joining me now is Yankees team reporter Max Goodman. Max, the American League has practiced this since 1973 and National League players have reportedly long favored the idea of applying a designated hitter. What are the benefits of this?
Max Goodman: Well, it's been long favored, Kaitlin, but I also don't think that this is going to be completely approved by everyone. A lot of traditionalists will not want this to take place this year, but unprecedented times call for unprecedented rule changes. And here we are, it seems like this is going to take place. One key note, though, before I get into this, is that there won't be an American league, there won't be a National league within this proposal. The realignment says that there will be three different divisions just based on geography. So there will be games played in NL ballparks, but in reality, those won't be necessarily National League. So I think that this has the potential to really benefit teams in both leagues by tradition and really even the playing field for National League teams that have a surplus of depth that usually won't be able to use that 9th spot in the order for a position player. This is great. It helps teams like the Dodgers, the Brewers, the Mets and the Cubs, for instance, who have an extra player that's not necessarily the best defender who typically can't get into the lineup at home games. Now, they can play pretty much every day in this 82 game format. And then for American League teams, it's just business as usual. And again, it helps with depth. People can rest, stay in the lineup, keep their bat in the lineup and try to avoid injury.
Kaitlin O'Toole: Great insight on this so far. Let's talk about the Yankees specifically. If this is approved, which players would benefit most?
Max Goodman: Yeah, I think this could be huge for the Yankees. And skipper Aaron Boone has two different options here. The Yankees are a team that has a lot of bench depth. I think there are a lot of players on the Yankees bench that could start on other teams if they wore another uniform. So while players like Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar, for instance, were expanding their defensive versatility this spring to try to find ways to get into the lineup, now the Yankees have a guaranteed ninth spot in that order for all 82 games. Again, five NL teams will be in their division. That means a good chunk of their games will be played in NL ballparks. So Aaron Boone can take this on a case by case basis, depending on the matchup. He has a bunch of different players on his bench with the expanded rosters that he can slot in and use depending on who he thinks will give them the best chance to win. The other option here, which I think they may use, is this could be Giancarlos Stanton's role to lose. If he gets hurt or if he's not playing well, obviously they would use someone else, but this could be his way to get back to his MVP form in 2018, which is his lone full season that he played with the Yankees. 86 of the 158 games that he played that year were at DH, and coincidentally, that's just about the number of games in this proposal. So we can use his stats as a gage, for argument's sake. He hit 24 homeruns, had 60 runs batted in, hit .284 and had an OPS just under 1000. I think that's everything and more that the Yankees would want in these unprecedented circumstances.
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