There's a lot of speculation about the National League potentially adopting the Designated Hitter next winter and the DH being a full-time staple in both leagues for the 2014 season.
While I've always been an NL purest and enjoy the pace and strategy of the National League game more than the AL, I'm starting to think there are some potential benefits to the Reds - both short term (in 2014) and looking into the not-so distant future.
Just a few off the top of my head...
1. If the NL adopts the DH for 2014, I think it is highly more likely the Reds sign Shin Soo-Choo to a long-term deal. This would allow Ludwick (if Hamilton is ready in center) to slide to a more of a full-time DH role during the last year on his contract.
2. It could potentially open a spot in the lineup by 2015 for a bat like Donald Lutz, who Dusty seems quite enamored with. Personally, I don't see Lutz playing a full season in left at close to 250 pounds. However, if his bat continues to improve, he would make a decent DH/part-time outfielder candidate.
3. The same goes for Chris Heisey - from the right-side of the plate.
4. Most importantly, the DH could serve as a nice buffer for Joey Votto as he ages into the last 11 years of his contract and could serve as protection against the full-time grind on what could be a balky knee.
5. Finally, the DH could protect Dusty Baker from himself. While I had no issue with the way he managed the bullpen last year, I have been increasingly frustrated by how he uses over matched bench bats in late-inning clutch situations. While this isn't just a Reds problem, the DH could save my head from a few more Dusty-induced gray hairs.
A lot of what-ifs, but I sense this is a topic that will gain a lot of momentum as we deal with daily interleague games - and two separate sets of rules - this year.