When general managers speak up on national issues, my tendency is to assume they’re being self-serving. Considering they are paid to give their team a competitive advantage, it just seems logical to assume everything they say or do is slanted toward that goal.
If you root for their team, you want them to think that way.
That’s why I can’t help but wonder whether St. Louis Cardinals GM John Mozeliak feels his team would benefit from the addition of the designated hitter to the National League. He sparked a bit of a brouhaha by stating at the team’s Winter Warmup a couple of weeks ago that the DH-to-the-NL idea was gaining “momentum,” a sentiment fanned by commissioner Rob Manfred, who has subsequently walked that momentum back a bit.
Manfred told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick in a subsequent interview that, “the most likely result on the designated hitter for the foreseeable future is the status quo.”
Still, it’s kind of fun to imagine what the presence of the DH would do for the Cardinals' lineup. Matt Holliday has always been a below-average outfielder, to put it kindly, and he is entering his age-36 season. Mozeliak is high on the team’s young outfielders: Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty and Tommy Pham. The Cardinals aren't going to have the dynamic defensive outfield they would have had if they had re-signed Jason Heyward, but replacing Holliday with a younger, more athletic player would be a start.
An extra lineup spot could go a long way toward alleviating the Cardinals’ power shortage, probably the team’s biggest concern going into the spring. Division opponents wouldn’t seem to benefit as much by the addition of the DH. For the Chicago Cubs, it would mean getting Matt Szczur or Javier Baez in the lineup. For the Pittsburgh Pirates, it would allow them to use Michael Morse or Sean Rodriguez. Not a lot of intimidation factor there.
So, maybe Mozeliak just gave a frank answer to a question he is asked every year. Or, maybe there was another motivation behind it.