If baseball returns, the Cardinals will reap the benefits of the universal designated hitter.
It seems that for almost a decade now, St. Louis has had a crowded outfield. In that time, the only solution has been to trade off excess pieces. They did just that, trading away Tommy Pham to the Padres, Randal Grichuk to the Blue Jays and Stephen Piscotty to the Athletics, just in the past handful of years. However, now they have a solution: the designated hitter.
The DH gives the Cardinals much more flexibility as it pertains to their outfield; this spring a question lingered regarding top prospect Dylan Carlson’s playing time being affected by the struggling Dexter Fowler. With the DH at their disposal, St. Louis can have the best of both worlds: give Fowler the playing time he desires while giving Carlson the time in the field he’s earned. Not only does it allow for Carlson to get more at-bats, it allows outfielders like Tyler O’Neill, Lane Thomas and Harrison Bader to increase their playing time. For the Cardinals, the DH spot will basically serve as the fourth outfielder.
Not only does the implementation of the DH positively impact St. Louis in terms of offense, it also keeps their pitchers from getting in harms way. Just five years ago, Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright suffered a torn achilles tendon during an at-bat and missed 12 months. Although watching pitchers hit provides entertainment, the reward does not come close to risk.
For St. Louis, the designated hitter being at play provides them with the extra outfield spot their roster currently needs.