What is a Designated Hitter or DH? A Designated Hitter is a baseball player that is assigned to bat in place of the pitcher. This allows the pitcher to concentrate on pitching thus speeding up the game (less bunting). This was adopted in MLB by the American League in 1973 and the game has never been the same ever since.
Although there are a lot of criticism especially from the National League where there should be no specialization in baseball, no division of labor and everyone should play the "whole game". I would still be in favor of the DH rule.
For so many reasons.
For one it reduces the injury of your pitchers. Imagine them running along the bases. Look what happened to Yankees former Ace Chien-Ming Wang who suffered a foot injury while running the bases against the Houston Astros. Since that injury, Wang has never been the same "double play" pitcher.
Another reason is who would want to see your pitcher strike out a lot or, worse, commit to a double play which would end the inning. It destroys the beauty of baseball. There would be less home runs, decreased hitting, and more bunting. No wonder the American League always take the World Series home-court advantage because of their DH advantage.
The DH offers American League managers several options in setting their team's line-ups:
- They can employ a full time Designated Hitter like World Series MVP Hideki Matsui
- They can use left-handed hitting DH against a right-handed pitcher and vice versa
- It allows them to give a positional player a partial day-off
The beauty of the DH is it creates long, productive careers for players who are getting up in age, who have history of injuries, and who are weak fielders.
One good example is the case of Hideki Matsui. His shaky legs showed he can't play the outfield anymore but his batting prowess is still marvelous (20+ HR and 90+ RBI). The Yankees can't ignore the fact that Matsui is still valuable to the team employing him as their full time DH in 2009. It work wonders for them.
This coming season the Yankees are thinking what to do with their DH spot. Matsui is a free agent and the Yankees still want him. However, there are other Yankee positional players who need to be treated carefully (health wise) to prolong their career. Guys like Posada, Jeter, Damon (if signed), and A-Rod. The inability of Matsui to play the outfield gives the Yankees no choice but to go to another route.
I strongly suggest to bring up guys form the Farm system. Young stallions like Austin Jackson, Juan Miranda, Ramiro Pena, and Jesus Montero. They are still raw and a lot to prove. But this is the perfect time for them to see some action in the majors. It will be a good training ground for them while relieving old guys like Posada from time to time, giving them a partial day-off (DH spot).
For the Yankees who have several positional players creeping up on age "must" keep their DH spot open next season. And it is essential for them to bring up good sluggers from their Farm in order to maintain their offense intact. We will be seeing a new DH for next season.
So who would you want to be the Yankees' DH for the next season?