Designated Hitter Gets New Wrench for Twins in 2021
Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY SportsThe Star Tribune’s LaVelle E. Neal is hearing that the DH will revert back to an American League only rule in 2021. Despite the success of the change during the 2020 sprint, this is a change that would need to be collectively bargained and will likely need the 2022 CBA to institute it full time. Disappointing as that is for fans not wanting to see pitchers be automatic outs in the National League, the decision has rippling effects for the Twins.
There’s arguably no bigger decision for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine to make this offseason than whether they believe Cruz has more production to dole out. At some point the aging process wins out, and unfortunately, it’s not often a gradual process. If Cruz remains consistent, he’s one of the most feared hitters in baseball. If not, he provides no other value outside of clubhouse leadership, and paying him like a coach would be far more beneficial for the sake of payroll expenditures.
Thanks to Major League Baseball deciding the National League will go back to pitcher’s hitting for one more year, Nelson Cruz’s free agent suitors have officially been cut in half. All of those National League teams that scrambled to find a DH-bat this year will no longer face that issue in the season ahead. Many of the American League organizations already have that role filled, and that definitely tips the scales in the Twins favor should they want to retain the services of the Dominican star.
I still think one of the biggest questions in relation to this offseason is where the buck will cease being passed when it comes to a shortage of dollars. If teams are going to decrease payroll across the board, it would only make sense that players would see paydays being muted as well. While the arbitration process is relatively static, that means guys on the free agent market would be forced into dealing with what the market bears, as opposed to what they’d traditionally find as worth.
In a normal situation Nelson Cruz may command something like $15 million per year with a full boat of 30 teams vying for his services. With less than half of that being the reality, and less dollars to go around as a whole, the avenue for him to return may get a bit clearer.
Traditionalist or not, it’s disappointing that we’re going to get expanded Postseason and changed rules for extra innings out of this season, but we’ll still see pitchers hitting on a nightly basis despite being well in over their heads. As goofy as that is, maybe it means Minnesota isn’t forced into deciding Brent Rooker is their starting DH out of the gate next season, and if the belief is Nelson can still get it done, having him back would be a must.
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