With the ongoing crisis and uncertainty around baseball, MLB is throwing around a bunch of different potential ideas to get this season going at some point in some way, shape or form. It’s pretty clear that none of us know how this is going to turn out, and that certainly includes the people in charge of MLB. That said, there’s a lot of money at stake so it makes sense for them to at least brainstorm potential ideas, even if there’s probably a small likelihood of them coming to fruition.
With that in mind, it seems like the brainstorming at this point is revolving around centralized locations. We talked earlier in the week about a potential plan to have all 30 teams head to Arizona to at least start the season there. I mentioned some of the issues with that plan, as have many others around the interwebs. On Friday, another report came out about another potential plan, this one from Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Before I get into some of the details, I should reiterate something Alex Speier has said, which is that these plans are far from firm and are, again, brainstorming. None of them seem particularly close to approval. That said, we have nothing else to talk about and there are a few aspects I want to touch on.
First, the basics. Instead of the earlier report in which all 30 teams would head to Arizona, Nightengale’s report has two leagues with all of the teams heading to their respective spring training sites in Florida and Arizona. That would form two leagues who would only play those in their states. The DH would be universally implemented in this scenario (hell yeah) and there would be doubleheaders every day as well as one team being off every day due to there being an odd number of teams in each league.
Perhaps most interesting about this potential plan would be the realignment of divisions based on park geography. Here’s what those divisions would look like according to Nightengale’s reporting.
- NORTH: New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates.
- SOUTH: Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles.
- EAST: Washington Nationals, Houston Astros, New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, Miami Marlins.
- NORTHEAST: Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Oakland Athletics.
- WEST: Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels.
- NORTHWEST: Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals.
This does not look ideal for the Red Sox! Granted, they were already in a tough division under normal circumstances given that they had the Yankees and the Rays to contend with. Now, the Yankees are out of the division. However, the Rays are still there and they also have the Twins and the Braves, putting three projected playoff teams (under normal circumstances) in their division. Having the Orioles there is nice, though. I really couldn’t see them coming out of this division with a playoff berth.
Elsewhere, the Yankees get a huge boos. The Phillies are solid, but they were projected to be a borderline wildcard team at best and they’re the biggest competition for New York in that division. The East division would be interesting, particularly with both of last year’s World Series squads competing. Out in Arizona, the Padres get a big boost getting out of the Dodgers division and could arguably be the favorites in their division. The West would be the best division with both LA teams as well as the Indians, while the Northeast would have an interesting battle between the Cubs, Athletics and Diamondbacks.
As I said, this isn’t likely to happen but it’s fun to at least think about this realignment to take our mind off things for a while.