Though still unclear whether the designated hitter will be a part of the National League in 2021, if I were a member of the Marlins front office or even, for that matter, manager Don Mattingly, I would be praying for that to happen.
The potential for the DH to stay in the senior circuit—instead of the pitcher hitting in the final spot—would help the Fish a lot during next season. One, too, could argue on behalf of it aiding in the rebuilding process.
The questions here are why and how?
For one, playing DH-less won’t allot Mattingly the versatility he had in 2020. He alternated his players in that role. Nine players occupied the DH slot at various points, with Jesús Aguilar, Garrett Cooper, and Matt Joyce getting a majority of the reps there. Of the 60 games Miami played in 2020, the latter 3 started 48 of them at the DH spot.
With Joyce gone and the Marlins yet to begin offseason moves, Mattingly could alternate Aguilar and Cooper as the 1B/DH tandem if the DH were to return to the NL in 2021, as he needs to get both bats into the lineup no matter what. Depriving your lineup of either of those two, who both posted OPS’s north of .800, would only hinder an already barren offense.
This way, Mattingly won’t have to use Cooper regularly in the outfield, which would allow the Marlins to scour the free agent market for an established name who can play right field. Names such Josh Reddick, Jay Bruce, Nick Markakis, or the long-rumored Marlin-in-the-making Yasiel Puig all seem like fits should the organization search externally.
Should Miami look to search in house, though, further implementation of the DH could make room for their prospects. Those would be valuable plate appearances for the likes of either Monte Harrison or Jesús Sánchez to take that next step in becoming everyday players.
It’s obvious that if the National League uses the DH role in 2021 as well, every team will have a better offense, but it’d especially help the Marlins and their aspirations not only to compete again, but also to keep developing.