While many, if not all, Major League Baseball organizations have been forced to cut costs in response to the economical impact of the coronavirus pandemic, some clubs might actually need to fill a new roster position in 2020, seeing that the universal designated hitter rule will likely be implemented across both leagues in 2020.
In the 144-year existence of the National League, the designated hitter has not been an option (outside of interleague play). That all could change if club owners and the MLBPA can come to an agreement for a 2020 season.
A handful of rosters are already deep enough to fill the DH position from within their own respective organizations. The Dodgers, for example, could pencil in Chris Taylor or Enrique Hernandez, who are both currently labeled as reserves on their depth chart.
On the other hand, there are multiple teams who struggled mightily last season filling that DH spot in interleague play. For instance, the Rockies played 10 games in AL ballparks last year. Their designated hitters combined to slash .171/.275/.200 without a single home run or RBI. Marlins designated hitters combined for an abysmal .171 OBP. Even the Milwaukee Brewers, a 2019 playoff team, saw their designated hitters tally five hits and 15 strikeouts in 39 at-bats.
Fortunately for the teams who might feel rather thin with the bats, they could look to the free agency pool where some talent remains unsigned. We have compiled a list of free agents who could fill the designated hitter voids in the National League, breaking them down from the most-realistic options to least.
1. Yasiel Puig
The polarizing Yasiel Puig remains unsigned -- hard to believe considering he finished the season strong after being traded to Cleveland. The Wild Horse compiled a .297 BA and 23 RBI in 49 games with the Tribe.
2. Melky Cabrera
Rather quietly, The Melk Man put together a nice season in Pittsburgh at the plate in 2019. Considering he's lost a step or two in the outfield (-2.0 dWAR in 2019), a DH role could be a match made in heaven.