PHILADELPHIA -- Dave Dombrowski told reporters two weeks ago at the GM Meetings that he thinks the DH is coming to the National League in 2022.
If it happens, Bailey Falter becomes the answer to a trivia question: Who was the last Phillies pitcher to bat in a game before the NL permanently adopted the DH?
(Falter struck out swinging in the second inning in the final game of the season on Oct. 3 in Miami, if you really want to impress your Phillies friends with your Phils knowledge.)
Dombrowski said the Phillies are unlikely to pursue a full-time DH in the offseason, or even transition a current everyday player into the role. Instead, he figures they will rotate multiple players into the spot as a way to get them off their feet but remain in the lineup. Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto figure to benefit the most from this plan. Alec Bohm could get a few at-bats there. Didi Gregorius could, too, especially if Bryson Stott wins a roster spot coming out of Spring Training or even earns a promotion the first couple months of the season.
Harper has DH’d for the Phillies 14 times over the past three seasons, slashing .319/.475/.574 with four doubles, one triple, two home runs and nine RBIs. Hoskins has DH’d eight times in his career, slashing .242/.297/.333 with one double, one triple and six RBIs. Realmuto has DH’d in 13 games, slashing .320/.364/.360 with two doubles and six RBIs.
Some players don’t mind being a DH. Harper’s numbers indicate he doesn’t mind it.
Others are not a fan because they say that playing in the field helps them maintain their focus and feel the flow of the game.
Pat Burrell was one of those players. He played 22 games at DH for the Phillies, which is tied with Jim Thome for second-most in team history behind Ryan Howard (29). Andrew McCutchen (18) and Harper rank fourth and fifth on the list, respectively.
Burrell slashed .153/.258/.224 with three doubles, one homer and seven RBIs as a DH.
But who knows? Maybe Burrell would be more open to the role today, considering how players and teams view the importance of rest and recovery over the course of a 162-game season.
By the way, 63 players in Phillies history have played at least one regular-season game at DH. The group includes players that some fans might have forgotten about: Emmanuel Burriss (2016), Mike Fontenot (2012), Kyle Garlick (2020), Deivy Grullón (2019), Hyun Soo Kim (2017), Logan Morrison (2019), Daniel Nava (2017), Mike Robertson (1997) and Sean Rodríguez (2019).