National League DH coming soon? Cubs would benefit

The Chicago Cubs' roster could be even better if the National League had a DH.
Jennifer Hilderbrand-USA TODAY S

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred acknowledged the National League could adopt the designated hitter as soon as the 2017 season. With new collective bargaining agreement discussions to occur after the 2016 season, a shift in the mindset of NL owners could mean the change is coming.

"Twenty years ago, when you talked to National League owners about the DH, you’d think you were talking some sort of heretical comment," Manfred said Thursday. "But we have a newer group. There’s been turnover. I think our owners in general have demonstrated a willingness to change the game in ways we think would be good for the fans, always respecting the history and traditions of the sport."

While St. Louis Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said teams that don’t regularly have a DH are at a ‘roster disadvantage’ playing with one, the Chicago Cubs in 2016 would certainly be the exception from that mindset as they would greatly benefit from having a DH. 

"We have so many hitters coming, we wouldn’t mind a DH in our lineup," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein told CBS Chicago.

It has been rumored all offseason that Javier Baez and Jorge Soler could be out of a position on the Cubs starting lineup due to an influx of top notch hitters taking their places, and the Cubs are seeking to trade the two hitters. With a DH, suddenly one, if not both, have a more permanent role on the team. Not to mention, Kyle Schwarber, who has a great bat, but lacks somewhat at both his fielding positions at catcher and outfield, could take his swings without Chicago needing to have its defense suffer. 

While it would seem like great news for the Cubs should the NL adopt the DH with such a crop of good talent on the roster, manager Joe Maddon previously stated he isn’t a fan of changing the rules of the game.

Cardinals GM: 'Momentum' increasing for establishing DH in NL

"I like the way this game sits," Maddon said in April. "I hope they don’t change it."

Despite the rumblings of the DH being established as an universal role in all of MLB, dreaming of the Cubs lineup with the rule in place isn’t going to make it happen for 2015. 

While pitchers often say they enjoy hitting, the fact of the matter is the position typically doesn’t translate to sound hitting skills. With offense being determined by executives to be what keeps gains and retains fans for baseball, change could be in the air soon for a DH in the NL very soon.