An annual question Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak faces from the fans at Winter Warm-Up is whether the designated hitter is about to intrude on the National League. He usually dismisses the notion as a "non-starter," and his answer hadn't changed in his nine previous Warm-Ups as GM.
It did Saturday.
He said there's "more momentum" for the DH in the NL.
"I do feel like there were times I could look all of you in the face and say it's a non-starter, it's not being discussed at the owner level or GM," Mozeliak said Saturday during an expansive discussion with the media at the team's 20th annual fanfest. "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)."
Mozeliak's comments echo similar ones made this past spring by Major League Baseball Players Association chief Tony Clark, who said he has heard more discussion about the DH spreading to the NL than in years past. The chatter comes at an opportune time for DH advocates as baseball enters the final year of its current collective bargaining agreement between owners and players. Negotiations on a new deal will thread through this season, as the current CBA is set to expire in December.
I've heard similar words from other executives, and keep in mind that Mozeliak has been in the game a long time and has attended many meetings of his peers, and that his boss, Bill DeWitt Jr., is regarded as one of MLB's most powerful figures.
Maybe the DH is inevitable, in a time when there is so much effort made to maximize value, and to protect value.