Updated 2:10 PM EST
According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Major League Baseball offered the MLB Players’ Association the adoption of the universal designated hitter in 2021 in exchange for the players’ approval on expanded postseason play.
Per Heyman, the expanded postseason offer “included extra money for players”, but was rejected by the union.
Last winter, an agreement for the universal DH to be implemented through the 2021 season was agreed upon by the league and union.
When negotiations for a shortened season due to COVID-19 broke down last June, spurring MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to enact the 2020 season under his terms, that agreement was nullified.
Heyman confirms that this offer was made by the league “before [the] holidays” and was only recently rejected, signifying continuing discussions on the matter.
We’ll keep you posted with new information as it breaks.
Whether or not Major League Baseball will adopt the universal DH is still very much up in the air, according to a report by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
The league and the union agree the universal DH is a good idea because it would prevent pitchers from injuring themselves swinging the bat or running the bases. However, the league views the creation of 15 DH jobs as a financial gain for the players, which would require a tradeoff.
“It initially suggested enacting the universal DH in exchange for the players agreeing to an expanded postseason for 2021, a concept the union rejected,” Rosenthal wrote in his report.
The stalemate is affecting how teams are approaching free agents, like Nelson Cruz and Marcell Ozuna. Without a universal DH, it would be difficult for a National League team to justify signing Cruz or Ozuna, especially if a team is searching for other positions.
This also hurts a team like the Mets, since they will have to find playing time for Dominic Smith. Ideally, Smith could slot into the first base role (and Pete Alonso to DH), but if there is none, he will have to get playing time in left field.
Rosenthal also reported the league made a proposal on Dec. 18 to adopt the universal DH, resolve two-time grievances from last season in the union’s favor and increase the guarantee the players would get for an expanded postseason, from $50 million last season to more than $80 million.
The proposal also added the pitch clock and an automated strike zone in spring training. The union opposed each of these additions.