We are just over a month from the beginning of spring training, but Major League Baseball still has not decided on a universal designated hitter. This decision affects the New York Mets more than any other team in the National League due to their abundance of below-average defenders.
Especially taking into account the next few days, Dominic Smith homering on Jackie Robinson Day is poetic.
How can you not love this guy pic.twitter.com/jXSlDVBZFe
— MetsFanMania (@MetsFanMania) August 28, 2020
Returning the DH to the NL betters the Mets defense by default. It benefits the Mets to avoid playing Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso in the field together. With the DH, one can play first base (preferably Smith) while the other is the DH. Brandon Nimmo or Jeff McNeil play left field instead of Smith, and it leaves J.D. Davis as a DH option against lefties.
The lack of information on the DH affects the free-agent market too. If the Mets sign George Springer, Nimmo becomes the odd-man-out without the DH. Michael Conforto would remain in right field, and either Smith/Davis plays in left. With a DH, the Mets have a set outfield and only worry about who plays third base daily.
Unfortunately, Rob Manfred and the owners think the universal DH is a bargaining chip against the players union. The longer MLB waits on it, the longer players like Nelson Cruz and Marcell Ozuna only have 15 teams to play for in 2021.