How the universal DH impacts the St. Louis Cardinals

Kyle Schwarber (12) hits a two run double. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Schwarber (12) hits a two run double. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

For months, Major League Baseball has been expected to implement the universal designated hitter. So it came as no surprise when commissioner Rob Manfred informed reporters that MLB and the MLBPA have agreed upon a universal DH in 2022.

Just don’t expect it to impact the St. Louis Cardinals much.

Of course, it gets them another bat in the lineup and takes the pitcher hitting out of play. It allows the Cardinals to put a bat such as Juan Yepez, Nolan Gorman, Lars Nootbaar, Edmundo Sosa or even Nolan Arenado or Paul Goldschmidt as a DH and keep their bats in the lineup.

We have written about free agents Kyle Schwarber and Nelson Cruz, but the Cardinals are not expected to be players for either once the lockout is over. Instead, they will pursue lesser upgrades – think Collin Moran – while focusing on adding multiple relievers and another starting pitcher.

If that current plan fails, expect the Cardinals to aggressively pursue a DH option at the trade deadline. It‘a far too early to predict who they might target, but the Oakland A’s and Baltimore Orioles are among the most prominent sellers in the coming weeks and months.

Gambling on their internal options at DH is a risk for the Cardinals, especially with the Brewers being the divisional favorites entering the season. There is also buzz that the Brewers could pursue a player like Cruz, though that is unconfirmed. But even that possibility should give the Cardinals pause about not pursuing either Cruz or Schwarber.

Next. ZiPS projections are favorable to Cardinals. dark

Alas, the Cardinals seem confident in their decision to invest heavily in the pitching staff rather than at the DH spot. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak has earned the benefit of the doubt, but there is no doubting this decision is a risk.