Why not five in a line-up? That’s an argument that resembles the opponents of gay marriage — if you start with one same-sex spouse, why draw the line there? But Michael Brendan Dougherty has a very good point. If we are willing to put up with Ryan Howard’s poor defensive skills at first base for the pop that he
brings used to bring to the plate, why should we mind watching the futility of a Justin Verlander while trying to hit a ball?
The player that is most valuable for his defense is usually not very valuable on the offensive side of the ball. But what is the rationale for remedying this by instituting a position that is valuable on offense but contributes absolutely nothing on defense? Calcaterra is saying that the National League should add an extra player who is only good at offense because he is better at offense, a tautological argument that implies it is plainly wrong to want to see Clayton Kershaw at bat rather than David Ortiz. It’s only wrong if you’re rooting against the pitcher. . . .
Why should teams not pair an excellent defensive outfielder like Endy Chavez with a poor-fielding slugger like Dan Uggla? Because of some hoary tradition that only pitchers can be replaced with a DH? Teams could keep Jeff Francoeur’s tremendous defensive arm in the outfield for years if you paired him up with the bat of Prince Fielder. Furthermore, because the hitting Fielder and the fielding Franceour are not forced into doing things they aren’t great at, you reduce some risk of injury.
Roster sizes are not written on tablets, and can be expanded; the teams have plenty of revenue. Specialization is a trend in baseball after all, so why not separate the great defenders with rocket arms and high baseball IQ, from the natural born hitters in the early development process. We could have a whole infield of Andrelton Simmons-level defenders, and every team can put a murderers’ row up to bat. Why wouldn’t you want to see that?
Because that’s what you see in the National Football League and that means desecrating the Lord’s Day.
That was easy.