Cubs president Theo Epstein said he’s not counting on it, but could the team with the overflow of young hitting talent get the benefit of the designated hitter rule they seem built for?
At least one rival general manager suggested first-time “momentum” toward adding the DH to the National League.
“I do feel like there were times I could look all of you in the face and say it’s a non-starter, [that] it’s not being discussed at the owner level or GM,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told fans over the weekend during the Cardinals’ version of Cubs Convention (via St. Louis Post-Dispatch). “But over the past year it has.
“I’m not suggesting you’re going to see a change, but I definitely think the momentum [has changed],” he added, saying a first step that’s been discussed is adding the rule for interleague games in NL parks.
Epstein likes the idea but sounds less optimistic.
“We have so many hitters coming we wouldn’t mind a DH,” he said. “But we can’t control that. It’s above our pay grade. It’s an issue with the commissioner and the owners.We can’t count on it. There are no indications that the DH is coming anytime soon.
“So we’re planning on building National League clubs with National League rules for years to come, and emphasizing defense and versatility to be able to adjust.”
Dan Vogelbach, the first-base prospect with perhaps the most at stake if he wants a big-league role with the club, said Sunday he tries to put that possibility out of his mind.
“Obviously [Anthony] Rizzo’s the first baseman for the Chicago Cubs. That’s not going to change,” said Vogelbach, the former second-round pick who was added to the 40-man roster this winter. “I don’t know if [the DH] is coming or not. Obviously, if it [does], then that’s another chance for another bat in the lineup, but right now I’m just going to continue to try to be the best first baseman I can be.”