The reported consideration being given to adding the designated hitter to the National League for this season has generated mixed feelings among baseball fans, though the majority of those tied to American League teams are for the universal DH.
Baseball would be under the same set of rules, and clinging-to-work power hitters would potentially have 15 more job openings to consider. The average pace of play would get longer, with NL games no longer sped up by the near automatic out every time a pitcher bats.
The universal DH would also help increase the rebuilding Texas Rangers’ chances at trading Shin-Soo Choo.
It still might not be easy to trade the Rangers’ leader in on-base percentage and annual salary, and the club is not looking to do so even though Choo generated some interest this offseason.
The Rangers would end up eating a large chunk of the $42 million left on his contract, and Choo, who has more than 10 years of service time and five with the Rangers, has full no-trade protection under 10-and-5 rights.
Choo, though, wants to win, and chances are the Rangers won’t be winning this season. The outlook for 2020 is also cloudy. The Rangers could find a deal to a DH-needy NL contender that he might accept.
While a salary dump wouldn’t be the Rangers’ primary motivation, acquiring young talent and freeing up at-bats would be. For instance, no longer having Choo on the roster would make create an opening for Willie Calhoun.
The biggest obstacle to a Choo trade is MLB adapting the universal DH before the start of the season. According to an ESPN report from late Tuesday, that and several other significant rules changes are being discussed by the commissioner’s office and players union as they seek to bridge the divide that has been created between them since the last collective bargaining agreement was reached.
If it happens, the Rangers might be able to move Choo to the right team.