There was plenty of commotion this week in baseball circles as the league considered adopting the designated hitter rule, but it doesn’t appear that the change is imminent.
According to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, the National League will not adopt the designated hitter rule for the time being, and will instead focus on other pace-of-game rule changes that will be designed to speed up game times.
The designated hitter debate, along with changes to the amateur draft system and other ideas, will be shelved until new collective bargaining agreement talks begin. The current agreement is not set to expire until December 2021.
The Cubs would have been in a unique position to benefit from the rule change, as players like Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ would have gotten more at-bats under a new system. Players like Javier Baez and Ben Zobrist likely would have seen more at-bats too, as they occasionally find themselves out of the lineup as Joe Maddon shuffles things around to keep players fresh.
The league is still considering several other changes, including a new rule that would mandate pitchers face at least three batters, as well as a new pitch clock to run between pitches. Those changes still need to be discussed.