Break up the (AL) East

BY Ken Rosenthal • February 25, 2010

 

MODEST REALIGNMENT

  In this scenario, the Red Sox and Tigers switch divisions, and the Astros move to the AL West. Each league would include 15 teams rather than the current 16 and 14, requiring an inter-league series to be played at all times.

AL East AL Central AL West NL East NL Central NL West
Yankees Red Sox Angels Braves Cubs Dodgers
Tigers White Sox Rangers Phillies Cardinals Giants
Rays Twins Mariners Mets Brewers Diamondbacks
Orioles Indians Athletics Marlins Reds Rockies
Blue Jays Royals Astros Nationals Pirates Padres
Advantages:
• The Yankees and Red Sox are broken up, creating better opportunities to reach the postseason for other teams in the East: the Rays, Orioles and Blue Jays.
• The Yankees and Red Sox would play each other fewer times under an unbalanced schedule, increasing the odds that each would reach the postseason — and satisfying MLB’s television partners, including FOX.
• The Astros would play in the same division as the Rangers, their in-state rivals.

Disadvantages
• The Tigers would be sacrificial lambs for competitive balance, moving from a division without an economic super power to one that includes the Yankees.
• Fans of the Yankees and Red Sox would lament the change in their historic rivalry.

 

RADICAL REALIGNMENT

  The current leagues and divisions are completely torn up, with geographic rivalries receiving a greater emphasis. Each league would include 15 teams.

AL Atlantic AL Great Lakes AL Pacific NL East NL Midwest NL Southwest
Mets Twins Dodgers Red Sox Cubs Diamondbacks
Yankees Pirates Angels Phillies Cardinals Rockies
Blue Jays Indians Athletics Braves White Sox Rangers
Orioles Tigers Giants Marlins Brewers Astros
Nationals Reds Mariners Rays Royals Padres
Advantages:
• The best of the inter-league series (the regional and intra-city rivalries) would become a staple of the regular season.
• The idea of playing an inter-league series at all times would be less offensive; the old league boundaries would be gone.
• The Red Sox and Yankees would be split, with each inheriting a new high-revenue division rival: the Phillies would play in the Red Sox's division, the Mets in the Yankees'.

Disadvantages
• The historic integrity of the leagues would be lost.
•Combining teams from both leagues would require MLB to either use the designated hitter for all 30 clubs or abandon it completely.
• The All-Star Game would carry less meaning and likely would need to be restructured.
• The two Florida teams would remain at a competitive disadvantage, playing in the same division as the Red Sox and Phillies.

 

REVENUE REALIGNMENT

  Teams are grouped in greater accordance to their revenues and geographic considerations.

AL Money AL Budget AL Southeast NL Great Lakes NL West NL Southwest
Yankees Blue Jays Braves Cubs Dodgers Diamondbacks
Mets Pirates Nationals White Sox Angels Rockies
Red Sox Royals Orioles Cardinals Mariners Rangers
Phillies Reds Marlins Tigers Giants Astros
New Jersey A's Indians Rays Twins   Padres
      Brewers      
Advantages:
• Most low-revenue teams would stand a greater chance of reaching the postseason.
• The big-money teams in the northeast would fight it out with one another.
• New York would gain a third team, cutting into the economic might of the Yankees and Mets.

Disadvantages
• The historic integrity of the leagues would be lost.
• Several low-revenue teams still would play in the same division as high-revenue clubs.
• The postseason would be less appealing with poor teams facing the rich.
• Combining teams from both leagues would require MLB to either use the designated hitter for all 30 clubs or abandon it completely.

 



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