Why Giants' Brian Sabean feels NL will have to use DH this MLB season


After years and back and forth, there's now only one answer to one of baseball's biggest ongoing questions. There's no doubt the NL is going to have a designated hitter if the sport resumes in two months. 

Brian Sabean spent three decades putting together Giants rosters without having to worry about that possibility, but on Wine Wednesday with Amy Gutierrez, Sabean said the new front office and coaching staff will definitely have to plan for a new look. 

"I don't think we have any choice. I think the DH is a necessity because we'll really have a hard time getting pitching ready even though they'll expand your roster," Sabean said. 

Starting pitchers won't even have enough time in a second spring training to get their pitch counts back up to what they're used to, so asking them to then also go out and hit will be out of the question. Starters lasting just three or four innings would leave far too many at-bats for relief pitchers not used to being in that role. 

Sabean, now an executive vice president for the organization, said the Giants are going to have to be "very inventive" when putting together an expanded pitching staff. 

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"Hopefully the staff is very flexible," he said. 

That shouldn't be a problem for Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris. They already had put together a flexible pitching staff, one in which several players were preparing to start or relieve, openers would be used, and there was a possibility of having no set closer. 

Sabean no longer has to deal with the day-to-day machinations, but he's a trusted advisor and could be particularly useful in a time like this. While the sport has never seen a break quite like this one, Sabean has been through plenty of labor wars as an executive. A day after MLB and the MLBPA started discussions on how to restart a season, he said health should be the biggest concern for all sides. 

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"We've got our challenges because there are some states and some cities that aren't going to be friendly to however we present this," he told Amy G. "But I will say, I think we have a captive audience and the players want to play. The owners know to keep the sport alive or your brand out front, it's in everybody's best interest to try to pull this off.

"While this phase of negotiations could be a grind -- it always comes down to some money (being) involved -- you know a lot of thought has been put into this."

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