Red Sox

McAdam: On the future of J.D. Martinez, the DH and contractual opt-outs

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Major League Baseball has proposed a universal DH for the 2020 season, which is a nod both to the unique schedule, which will likely feature a greater percentage of interleague matchups due to temporary realignment, and the potential risks to pitchers being asked to run the bases after a far shorter spring training.

The notion of having a DH for both leagues has seen growing support in recent years. The National League is now the last, lonely outpost in which pitchers hit for themselves, and save for a few tradition-bound NL owners, there appears to be little remaining institutional support for having pitchers hit.

Whatever fan opposition once existed has ebbed in the nearly 40 years since the once-radical rule change was implemented. Fans want more offense, and at a time when the turgid pace and lack of action are seen as anathema, there's nothing so sleep-inducing as a pitcher futilely flailing at the plate.

All along, it has been widely assumed that the DH would be a big bargaining chip when the next collective bargaining agreement is negotiated next year (the current CBA expires in December of 2021). But like a thousand other things, the coronavirus pandemic may have changed that thinking as well as the timetable.

If MLB agrees to shelve the DH/no DH set up for 2020, couldn't such a change also be extended into 2021, then more permanently eradicated via the new CBA later in the year? Baseball, it would seem, has far bigger issues facing it than whether to continue with this strange bifurcation.

It's been suggested that introducing the DH to both leagues would represent a huge boon to J.D. Martinez, since it would, in effect, double the number of potential employers for him this winter. National League teams