Originally Posted by MikeThierry
I mentioned this early in a post so it is something I recognized. It is an evolving position that doesn't have a barrel chested slugger sitting on the bench waiting to hit for most teams. I used Pujols because it was the clear advantage that I could think of at the time but there are other examples that could have been used like the A-Rod deal, etc. Peter Gammons explains it a bit better than I can at work:
He makes an excellent point that there are some trades that are higher risk for NL teams because they do not have the DL. If a young player like a catcher is used as trade bait, an NL team will have a harder time making that trade not knowing the future of how that young player will turn out at that position. An AL team can simply place a high impact catcher prospect at DH if that prospect doesn't turn out well at being an MLB catcher. A catcher is just one example here as it applies to other positions in the field.
The piece by Gammons was written in January of 2012 so some of this data might be out of date but he says this:
and now Adrian Gonzalez is in the NL. The argument just doesn't hold up over time. It's about revenue and supply and demand. No team is saying "well, just let him go because that last year where he might not be so good in the field is not worth it. Let's just start that replacement level guy, that should work out for the next 6 years because that 7th year, oh no, we can't deal with that." What about the fact the NL has the advantage with the fact they don't have to pay a DH or what is essentially a 9th starter since the role of DH has changed? Naw, let's just ignore that. Bob Melvin is just crying. That is what I got from that. The first baseman argument also makes no freaking sense. If it was a difficult position I would understand, yet 1B is the least demanding postion on the field. That is the one spot where the NL can compete directly with the AL on giving guys a long term deal (assuming this idea is correct). Melvin is just mad he doesn't have the Tiger's money. Too bad Victor Martinez got hurt and the Tiger's got desperate, otherwise it would be tough for Melvin to justify his failure when Fielder went to LA.
As for keeping guys free from injury and fresh, I would really like to see the breakdown on injuries league vs. league. That is really the only lasting impact since the playoffs have plenty of off days, and NL teams are only competing with other NL teams during the season (yes, they play the AL, but so do all NL teams and in the end your record vs. other NL teams is what counts).
Like I have stated, if teams are doing it they are basing it on a fallacy. It's a perceived advantage that simply does not exist. This is all about big vs. small market. Call me when the Cards lose a guy to the Twins because the contract offer was a year or two short. Not when the Tigers, Angels, and Red Sox are getting guys from the Brewers, Cards, and Padres (yes, I know when he became a free agent he was with the Red Sox but the reason he was originally there was because SD could not sign him). That is all about revenue disparity, not this supposed difference in AL vs. NL.
edit: oh, and to the young catcher argument, that doesn't make any sense either due to the fact AL teams are now using guys that have to play the field on a regular basis as a rotating DH. No team is taking a young catcher that can't catch on the off chance he becomes their full time DH. AL teams realize that is a waste. Like I have stated before, the idea of a full time DH is almost gone in baseball.
The only real advantage to the DH is simple. AL teams, when at home in the WS, have a 9th starter where the NL teams have a backup guy as their 9th guy. Yet the NL has done pretty well for themselves in the WS. The AL also does have a disadvantage though too since their pitchers never hit and their DH rotation is normally only a few guys over the same positions, so often the guy not in their lineup will not be their 9th best hitter.