On the one year anniversary of his appointment as MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred discussed a multitude of topics with reporters from several media outlets, including Yahoo and ESPN, where among other issues, he shot down the arrival of the designated hitter to the National League, the possibility of an International Draft, and his decision not to reinstate Pete Rose off the permanently ineligible list.

At the MLB owners meetings in Coral Gables, Florida, last week, Manfred talked to reporters about the possibility of the National League emulating the American League and adopting the DH rule. His comments were interpreted as a sign of potential uniformity between the two leagues on the designated hitter as early as 2017. St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak recently said the idea of the NL adding the DH is “gaining momentum.” When asked about the reaction to his comments, he stated “I was very surprised, the stories that were written. All I did was respond to a question about advantages and disadvantages and respond to a comment [Mozeliak] had made. My summation on that was: I don’t even know if it’s going to be a topic in bargaining. We seem to forget about this piece.”

He elaborated that “The most likely result on the designated hitter for the foreseeable future is the status quo…I think the vast majority of clubs in the National League want to stay where they are. Twenty years ago, when you talked to National League owners about the DH, you’d think you were talking some sort of heretical comment…But we have a newer group. There’s been turnover. And I think our owners in general have demonstrated a willingness to change the game in ways that we think would be good for the fans, always respecting the history and traditions of the sport.”

Manfred told ESPN he was merely discussing the pros and cons of a possible change and did not mean to create the impression that NL clubs want to adopt the DH. He compared the reaction to his comments to the fallout a year ago when he discussed the possibility of eliminating defensive shifts as a hypothetical change that MLB might consider. “When I talked about the defensive shifts, I let myself get into a situation where I speculated about a change I wasn’t serious about,” Manfred said. “I made the same mistake this time when I went back and forth on the pros and cons of the DH issue rather than saying what I’ve said all along — that I think we’re status quo on the DH, because it is the single most important feature that defines the differences between the two leagues.”

Yahoo’s Jeff Passan asked him if he was still in favor of an International Draft to replace the current system of integrating players from other countries to Major League teams using the current signing periods and penalties for going over a specific bonus allotment for each team, he stated “I am. One hundred percent. I just think you’ve got to follow the fundamentals on this one. Getting into a single method of entry into the industry will be the most effective in terms of promoting competitive balance.”

In response to being asked about the difficulty he faced in reaching a decision about Pete Rose’s future in baseball, his response was “I felt that it was important to focus on the specific issue in front of me – that is, can I remove Mr. Rose from the permanently ineligible list and open the door to the possibility that he would be directly involved with the play of the game on the field? Once you focus on that issue, I think it was not that difficult to write the opinion that was written. In a broader context, the process was extremely difficult. I’ll give you two things that, given what I said already, weigh on the other side. One is that the guy was one of the greatest players of all-time. And No. 2 is obviously this penalty has been in place a long time. Those factors made it more difficult. But at the end of the day, it’s important to remember what my responsibility is under the major league constitution, and I tried to discharge that responsibility.”

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