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David Oritz Is Retiring After 2016: It Is A Perfect Time To Eliminate The DH!

David Ortiz has been the quintessential DH in the AL over the last 15 years. Boston is in contention perennially because he put up great #s compared to his competition. Realistically, only he and a few other players are even at the All-Star level, and if given the choice if there were no DH slot in the game, I guarantee you their teams would brave their physical defiencies - in order to keep their bat in the lineup. The AL has had the Designated Hitter Position since the start of the 1973 season.

David Ortiz has been the quintessential DH in the AL over the last 15 years. Boston is in contention perennially because he put up great #s compared to his competition. Realistically, only he and a few other players are even at the All-Star level, and if given the choice if there were no DH slot in the game, I guarantee you their teams would brave their physical deficiencies – in order to keep their bat in the lineup. The AL has had the Designated Hitter Position since the start of the 1973 season.  But that was before Free Agency where the American League has an advantage for signing top guys because of the DH slot, and then there were no Interleague Games, where the AL has a 12 year winning streak, and is routinely posting over a .540 Win Percentage against.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Onwer) 

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David Ortiz has announced he is retiring after the next season.  Thus ends the greatest Left Handed DH of ALL-Time, (sorry Harold Baines).

The Designated Hitter Position has been taking a hit for effectiveness more and more over the last several years, and more teams than not use it as a rest for veterans.

Listed on MLB.com, only 5 DH’s qualified for the Batting Title race in 2015.

Billy Butler had a crappy year.

David Ortiz started slowly being hampered by the new foot in the box rule, before settling in to a 37 HRs and 108 RBI campaign – with a .913 OPS.

Alex Rodriguez had a renaissance year in 2015, clubbing 30+ HRs for the 15th time in his career, and 1st time in 4 years. But at 40, how many years does he have left, or at the production level? Will Prince Fielder be an effective DH now that he is in his early 30's, or will he have his last licks at the plate at 34 like his father did? Will Albert Pujols survive 6 more years a primary DH that plays like an ALL-Star?

Alex Rodriguez had a renaissance year in 2015, clubbing 30+ HRs for the 15th time in his career, and 1st time in 4 years. But at 40, how many years does he have left, or at the production level? Will Prince Fielder be an effective DH now that he is in his early 30’s, or will he have his last licks at the plate at 34 like his father did? Will Albert Pujols survive 6 more years a primary DH that plays like an ALL-Star?

Not far behind him in hanging them up will be Alex Rodriguez, who had the 3rd best year for a DH.  A-Rod bashed 33 HRS and 86 RBI with an .842 OPS, yet slowed down considerably in the 2nd half.

Kendrys Morales had the 2nd best year for the position with 22 HRs and 106 RBI – and a .847 OPS.  Morales is 32 himself.

The only other productive DH was Evan Gattis.  This guy miraculously hit 11 Triples, added with 20 Doubles and 27 HRs.  His .288 OBP doesn’t say much about his plate discipline, but he did have a .748 OPS.

Gone are the days where some of the best hitters are DH’s.  I am referring to the Edgar Martinez, Frank Thomas, Jim Thome, Travis Hafner, Jason Giambi, David Justice, Harold Baines and Paul Molitor type of DHs.  A lot of them all competing against each other at the same time.

Some of the stances of our website have suggested more teams retire their premiere offensive players to the position permanently like Prince Fielder (he is the Rangers full time DH going forward), Albert Pujols and Jose Bautista.  Maybe that will still happen.

We have also seen a massive shift in American League over the National League signing 8 – 10 year contracts with 30+ year old’s, because they can move to a Designated Hitter for the last seasons of his deal.

I have long advocated in the pitchers not hitting for the National League either.  I gave the idea of fielding 9 batters and only hitting 8.  In essence, this would help out with offense.

Over the last few years I have shifted from loving the DH – to no saying the position should be eliminated. If a player can’t field, he shouldn’t play anymore period.

If a player is brutal in the field, would it be any different from watching Shaquille O’Neal launch Free Throws and not even make 50% of them in the NBA back in the day?

Or how about a Hockey player being a liability on defense, yet he may be prolific on offense?

So how would the elimination of the DH work – as the MLBPA would never go for loss of Roster spots?  Well how about stretching Rosters to 26 – but you can only list 25 daily.

I, for one, would love to see Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen, Bryce Harper or Paul Goldschmidt have 11% more AB in a given year.  You could then lessen the MLB schedule to 154 Games.

I know I have spoken of this rant several times in a year, but it is just what I love to talk about.

The MLB could also benefit from calling the Shifts ‘illegal defense’ for having 3 of them on one side before the pitch is thrown.

If baseball wants to stop from heading towards the way of soccer and NHL, where the offense is going down, they would take stock in some of these ideas.

It will take a Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer or David Price type of pitcher to end his career as a hitter/or runner like Chien Ming-Wang did for this to take place as an elimination of pitchers hitting.

Another factor to the DH seeing its final days is the Interleague beat down the American League has been doling out for over 12 years straight in the Junior Circuit’s win streak versus the “Senior Circuit.”

When the Designated Hitter was implemented, it was to counter attack a fledgling attendance based from the American League, yet routinely the National League outdraws the American League each year.

Despite the fact of the tickets wickets turning in favor for the NL, having the DH penalizes the National League in so many ways.

In the early 70’s, there wasn’t Interleague or Free Agency at all, so the there was no direct advantage by having a guy only hitting and not having to field.

So maybe they won’t eliminate the DH, and even add the Designated Hitter in the NL one day.

Or maybe nothing will happen in the next decade, and we will be talking about a 22 year winning streak for the American League vs the National League.

With 300 Games being played annually between the AL and NL, the league may eventually look to uniformity of rules for both the leagues. If they eliminated the DH, they could also increase Interleague if that were too happen.

With 300 Games being played annually between the AL and NL, the league may eventually look to uniformity of rules for both the leagues. If they eliminated the DH, they could also increase Interleague games if that were to happen.  This would negate ‘team fatigue.’

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A Big thanks goes out to our chief writer Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s feature post.

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Posted on November 17, 2015, in Free Agency, MLB Interleague, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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