Friday, January 07, 2011

The "D" in DH stands for Dinosaur

Vladamir Guerrero had to take a hit to the midsection when the Rangers told him they were going with Beltre and would no longer need Vlad's services. The Rangers, like a growing number of teams are moving away from the DH as a one-guy-with-bad-wheels-swinging-the-bat kind of thing. The Yankees haven't had a prototypical DH since Giambi left. Last year, the Yankees used the DH position as a way to rest starting fielders on a rotation basis. This year, the Yankees seem committed to using Posada as their DH, but don't be fooled by that. Posada might see action in about 110 to 120 games while they continue to use the DH as a rest stop.

The Bay Rays of Tampa didn't get anything from the DH last year and still won the American League East. The Twins rotated the postion based on need. The most telling signal of the times is that Vlad, Giambi, Thome, Branyon, Manny and others are still unemployed. Teams are not overly excited about clogging up the position with guys who can't do anything else. Branyon might be the exception because he can still play first. But how many teams need a first baseman? Not many. Johnny Damon is another exception because he can also play left and first base. But Damon isn't your typical DH nor is he much willing to take a big pay cut and partial playing time.

The only DH types signed so far this winter have been David Ortiz and Hideki Matsui. Matsui can play an occasional game in left, but he is a pretty true DH. There isn't a much truer DH than Ortiz. But the Fan fully expects 2011 to be Ortiz's last hurrah with the Red Sox. The Red Sox, like other teams, would prefer the position become a flexible one giving the team line up options depending on the opposition and the pitcher.

The DH is dying and the "D" probably stands for "Dinosaur" when it comes to that position being held down by an aging, no-field veteran.

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