Should MLB get rid of the designated hitter?
via AP

Should MLB get rid of the designated hitter?

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The designated hitter has been a hot topic amongst baseball fans since its introduction to the American League. Since 1973, the AL has allowed a hitting specialist to come off the bench without having to play the field. Some say the designated hitter is a sham and should be eliminated to return the sport to its pure form. Others say the DH makes the game more exciting and lengthens careers. Should MLB end the DH? 

The Votes Are In!

The designated hitter has been a sore subject for many baseball fans. Purists don't like a lineup spot being dedicated to a player who comes off the bench without playing on the field and want the position gone. Others love the offensive spark the designated hitters provide, and want to see it expanded to the National League. Should the MLB kill the designated hitter or expand it?

There is no other professional sports league that changes its rules between divisions. Baseball is the only professional sport that has that dubious distinction. The designated hitter is a black eye in a once pure game. MLB has no reason to sully lineups with a player who only hits, and doesn't bother to play defense.

Pitchers, who used to be an easy out, are now generating offense themselves. When Noah Syndergaard is healthy, he can swing the sticks, earning a respectable .624 OPS. He's not the only one, neither. Jason Vargas, Zach Greinke, and Daniel Hudson all have OPS's over .550. The days of the designated hitter are over. 

With designated hitters out of the picture, teams wouldn't be able to cover up weaknesses and would actually have to work to improve them. And given the chance to hit, pitchers could develop into the two-way stars of old. Eliminating the DH would also end the need for specialization in baseball. Hitters will now have to learn how to field and play defense. More value will be placed on versatile players, and the game will improve.

Pitchers would also be in harm's way. Pitchers will be a little less willing to intimidate batters without having to face retribution himself. With pitchers in the lineup, managers will have to use more substitutes and use a lot more strategy. Remove the designated hitter.

Everyone is complaining offense will be lost if MLB eliminated the designated hitter. On the contrary, offense will improve. With pitchers occupying a spot in the lineup, managers will rotate pitchers out earlier if the team is down early. That causes teams to go to their bullpen sooner where the pitching level isn't as high as their starters. Hitters will have more opportunities to shell relief pitchers and generate offense. There is only good that can come out of eliminating the DH.

Who doesn't want more offense? Baseball needs an injection of energy, and eliminating the designated hitter would take the league three steps back from that goal.

The DH has provided fans some of the best hitters the game has ever seen. Their impact would not have been felt without being afforded the opportunity to play. Edgar Martinez may not have had the legendary career he had without the benefit of being the designated hitter for so long. The game benefits from having pure hitters like Martinez or David Ortiz, swinging their way into everyone's hearts. People like to see versatile players, but fans love to see sluggers thrill the crowd with their power.

MLB needs the designated hitter throughout the sport. The DH should be expanded league-wide.

No one wants to watch a pitcher hit. That is not a pitcher's job, it is not something they do often and it is awful to see them at the plate. Baseball is better when pitchers can spend all of their time honing their pitches, adding new ones and improving their technique. Adding a designated hitter would allow pitchers to pitch, and give a real slugger the chance to help a team win.

Watching pitchers at the plate is like watching the goat in the T-Rex enclosure in "Jurassic Park"— you know the goat is going to die, and you're kind of there just waiting for it happen so you can move on. With a designated hitter, you have a competent hitter who can go yard, drive in a run or start a rally. Fans don't want to see an easy out.

The designated hitter position has allowed many specialists to shine in the league. Lifelong designated hitters like David Ortiz and Edgar Martinez became Hall of Fame baseball players for their proficiency at the plate. The position also extends players careers. Without the grind of playing the field, players like Jose Canseco, Chili Davis, Don Baylor and Jim Thome all benefited from playing designated hitter later in their careers. MLB needs to save careers by expanding the DH into both leagues.

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