OT: MLB Realignment

Submitted by Vasav on June 11th, 2011 at 11:17 PM


Sounds like the MLB is seriously considering realigning. Not sure exactly how I feel about it. I know purists will hate the interleague games happening all season long, but that doesn't bother me that much. What concerns me is getting rid of divisions all together - while I like the idea of larger divisions (as opposed to 4 teams in the AL West), I also like for a pennant race to mean something. Determining a fair advantage to the league champion in the postseason is critical, IMO.

So what do you guys think? Anybody have some crazy, complicated ideas on re-aligning the MLB and re-doing it's postseason?



June 11th, 2011 at 11:23 PM ^

I think it's a great idea, however, I do have one problem with it. I'm a lifelong Yankee fan, and I think the AL is far superior to the NL. Most of it has to do with the DH being in the AL. Hopefully, the NL can adopt the DH rule because it makes so much more sense than having a pitcher hit. Other than that I would like it to happen, and Houston switching to the AL is probably the team that makes the most sense to switch.


June 11th, 2011 at 11:40 PM ^

While I don't hate it as much as some NL fans, I do think it adds another dimension to the game - do we put in the old guy in who can hit but is a defensive liability, and shuffle around our first basemen and left fielder? Or do we keep in the kid with a cannon, but who isn't as crafty a hitter?


June 12th, 2011 at 12:11 AM ^

hitting because there are so much strategies involved toward putting out lineups and deciding on who to put in the lineup.

I don't want NL changing the rule just to be the same as AL.  It makes an interesting game/series if AL has to come to NL park and has to use their pitcher to hit.


June 12th, 2011 at 2:20 AM ^

Strategy that comes about due to a having a pitcher bat is like thinking that baseball would be better if some other position player had to pitch an inning.  Think of all the strategy that would generate.  Only problem is, such bad matchups aren't very watchable.  Keeping something that is boring to watch just because it has always been done that way is dumb and is a reason that baseball is losing popularity. The whole strategy argument is missing the point.



June 12th, 2011 at 5:30 AM ^

Every year there are articles talking about how the CWS and the MLB's ratings and attendance numbers continue to climb, and even youth participation in organized leagues seems to climb every year. So I'm not sure about whether baseball is losing popularity. A good counterpoint, and a worrisome trend is the drop in black players at all levels. This jives with stories that less and less kids are playing "sandlot" ball, when explained as the result of those elite youth leagues. The theory being that as children are stratified as ballplayers at younger and younger ages and invited and selected to these elite leagues and tournaments, many kids who would have "grown" into being excellent ballplayers lose interest in the game after being passed over, or priced out, of these elite leagues.

Either way, the claim that baseball is "losing popularity" seems dubious at best, and flat out wrong by some measures. The claim that baseball is "unwatchable" seems pretty far removed from the evidence we have.

Finally, what I think is the most compelling portion of a NL game is the later innings, when managers have to strategize in how they deal with the pitcher's spot in the batting lineup. It is my favorite portion of the game, and the reasons I'll enjoy watching a random NL game more than I'll enjoy watching an AL game not featuring the Tigers.


June 11th, 2011 at 11:25 PM ^

I'm hoping they'll let them leave their gloves out on the field again as well. Going back to no divisions is way better than a 1 game playoff for the 5th wild card spot they were mulling over. Houston to the AL so there's a cross Texas rivalry renewal? Fine by me.


June 11th, 2011 at 11:46 PM ^

I'm not sure it does - they may still do a one game playoff for the last WC slot, and then have the winner play against the league champ in the LDS (or whatever the postseason's first round will be called). Otherwise, wouldn't they have to give the League Champ a "bye" all the way to the LCS? What would be awesome is if they did that but then made all the wild card teams plan in a weekend-long, CWS-style, double-elimination series for the right to play in the LCS. But that's kind of crazy.


June 12th, 2011 at 4:55 PM ^

Vastly against Houston to the AL. There's no more a rivalry across Houston and Texas as there is between Florida and Tampa Bay. There's never been a time in both franchises' history where they successful at the same time. Teams don't have any rivalry. Houston would also stand long time rivalries with St. Louis and Chicago. While Houston is the 3rd wheel in that group, they are still entrenched with those teams.

If anything, it should be Milwaukee, who had natural rivalries in the AL up until they switched over.


June 12th, 2011 at 10:12 PM ^

historically it makes sense, and up until recently they were in the AL, but lots of teams have switched back and forth over the years. I think they were picking Houston because of the ownership change. If the no-divisions thing falls through they still want an NL team to cross over and Houston makes more sense in the AL West geographically/logistically than Milwaukee. We could pick up Milwaukee in the Central and send KC to the West but KC might not go. They can make the crossover for Houston a clause in the sale of the team.


June 13th, 2011 at 12:09 AM ^

i thought they were the only ones. As far as KC, I remember reading an article where they were offered to shift to the NL and declined, and so the Brewers made the change instead.

As for Houston - I see the logic behind switching them. But if astros fans are against it - really the whole point of a switch is to bring in more fans, right? So it wouldn't make sense.


June 11th, 2011 at 11:25 PM ^

Normally, I'd say that realignment is fairer to everyone. As is, teams in the Central Division have easier schedules than teams in the East.
<br>Being a Tigers fan, therefore, I prefer the system as it is.
<br>Also fairness is a joke unless or until MLB imposes a salary-cap.


June 12th, 2011 at 7:19 AM ^

Baseball's problem isn't that they don't have a salary cap, it's that they don't have a salary floor. A lot of those "small market" teams that everyone talks about, only use a portion of revenue sharing for payroll. The 2006 Marlins spent less than $15 million on all their players in a year that they received around three times that much in revenue sharing. In each of the last few years the Pirates have received $40+ million from revenue sharing and their payrolls have been $48 million, $39 million, and $42 million. These owners who are pocketing money and putting a poor product out on the field is hurting the game much more than the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Angels, and Tigers are.


June 12th, 2011 at 10:27 AM ^

The problem is that small market teams refuse to overpay middling to poor free agents? That doesn't make any sense. The issue is that for too many teams, when the player they develop becomes a star, a few heavyweights can throw their money around giving the small market team no chance to re-sign their own guy. I don't have much sympathy for teams like the Pirates who had done a poor job for a long time of developing talent, though that is starting to turn around now. But a team like the Indians has been able to produce two Cy Young type pitchers on the same roster only to watch them get contracts that the Indians couldn't come close to. The problem isn't that teams spend under 50 million. It's that if they want to sustain contention for a long time, they have to shell out over 100 million year after year, which for too many is just not doable.


June 12th, 2011 at 10:29 PM ^

In each of the last few years the Pirates have received $40+ million from revenue sharing and their payrolls have been $48 million, $39 million, and $42 million.

Even if the Pirates had spent every last dime of their revenue-sharing money on payroll, their payroll would still be only about 40% as much as the Yankees', and tens of millions less than Boston's, the Mets' and the Dodgers'.  There is no possible way for them to ever be at payroll equity with any of those teams under the current system.  That is indefensible.  Baseball needs a salary cap.



June 12th, 2011 at 11:44 PM ^

I think a floor is necessary if you put in a cap, but to sit here and say that the problem is that the Pirates don't spend every last dollar they can is ludicrous. A few teams have a ridiculous financial advantage that allows them to make mistakes like Kei Igawa and just throw up their hands and go 'oh well, lets just spend even more next time'.


June 13th, 2011 at 12:50 AM ^

Also, if you put in a salary floor, but not a cap, what you'd end up doing is drive the market up even higher, since every team would be forced to spend.   The big-market teams might have an even larger advantage then.

I don't have a problem with a salary floor, but a cap is essential.


June 11th, 2011 at 11:26 PM ^

The Tigers or the White Sox will make the playoffs, while one of the Red Sox/Yankees/Rays won't.  From a team quality standpoint, that's pretty messed up.  


June 11th, 2011 at 11:43 PM ^

probably have a true talent level of like .475 ball.  They've been playing way over their heads so far this year and I'd be surprised if they finish over .500. 

The Rays aren't as good this year as last year, but their roster is easily better than the Tigers' roster.  If you flipped the Tigers and the Rays, the Rays would run away with the Central and the Tigers would finish 4th in the AL East.  

david from wyoming

June 11th, 2011 at 11:54 PM ^

It's mid June. How many games do the Indians have to play before their supposed talent level gets reevaluated? They are in first place and may go on a large swoon at any point, but right now, they are in first place.

Also, do you know how many players the Rays lost this offseason? A lot. The Tigers have a much better lineup than the Rays. Stop making things up.


June 12th, 2011 at 12:01 AM ^

the Indians are now tied for first place with the Tigers after tonight's game, have lost 8 of their last 10 and have, I believe, been outscored since the start of May.  

The Tigers have a team wOBA of .325 while the Rays have a team wOBA of .311, so the Tigers lineup is a bit better than the Rays lineup (at least so far), but the Rays are killing the Tigers in UZR, and I don't think Avila is a true talent .291/.354/..554 (.389 wOBA) hitter, or that Peralta really is a .313.374/..510 hitter, so I think the Tigers' bats are due for a bit of regression.  And neither Longoria nor Upton are hitting as well as they should yet.  

The Tigers aren't a bad team at all, I just don't think they're as good as the Rays. 


June 12th, 2011 at 12:10 AM ^

vs. tigers, but I am in awe of your statistical prominence. Somewhere along the way, baseball started using stats I don't even understand, and I was a math minor. I blame Billy Beane. And communists.


June 12th, 2011 at 12:16 AM ^

I was being a bit of a smartass.  The triple slash numbers are just batting average/on base percentage/slugging.  

And wOBA is actually not that complicated.  It's just a weighted average of everything a hitter does.  They just figure out how much each type of way to reach base is worth, and then scale it so it fits on an OBP scale.  It's meant to capture a hitter's value in one number (basically, to do a more accurate job of capturing what OPS is designed to capture).


June 12th, 2011 at 10:35 AM ^

Billy Beane got all the credit because so many people wrongly wanted to blame Beane for where we are at. You have guys like Joe Morgan passing along willful ignorance to the masses, and all of a sudden people think that Billy Beane is concocting formulas in his basement at night.


June 12th, 2011 at 12:17 AM ^

are a great way on evaluating the true value of team/players.  You'd know which one is due for a regression and which one is due for a hot streak.  For example, BABIP is a great way toward evaluating on whether the pitcher can sustain their performance or is due for the law of average to even out.

Study every one of them and you'll appreciate it.  I thank Moneyball for the sabermetric revolution.


June 12th, 2011 at 12:20 AM ^

but I think you guys are splitting hairs at this point.  There is no way you can say that either of these teams is better than the other from what we've seen so far.  And really, is there any team in baseball right now that is far and away better than anyone else?  Looks like a lot of parity to go around. 


June 12th, 2011 at 12:40 AM ^

right now. The closest is BoSox in which they are red hot as of now.  WS title is up for grab and I have no idea who is the favorite to win it all.  The Tigers have a chance to win it all as long as the pitching holds up and they don't suck after post all-star break like they always do.


June 12th, 2011 at 12:06 AM ^

1b: Cabrera vs. Kotchman: Tigers but Kotchman's no slouch

2b: Rayburn vs. ...oh who are we kidding: advantage Rays by a wide margin

SS: Peralta vs. Brignac: Tigers, by a wide margin

3B: Inge/Kelly vs. Longoria: Rays by a wide margin

RF: Boesch vs. Joyce: Boesch has been stroking it lately, but Joyce is an all-star: Rays

CF: Jackson vs. Upton: Tigers, though both have been slumping

LF: Dirks vs. Fuld: Tie of futility

C: Avila vs. Jaso: Tigers

DH: Martinez vs. Damon: Tigers

Detroit avg .260, 4th    Rays avg .242, 11th

Detroit ERA 4.2, 12th   Rays ERA 3.75 6th

Tigers have more power, Rays more speed. They seem pretty even, and I would take Detroit's starters over the Rays. Also, which may need to be my only point-Kyle Farnsworth is the Rays' closer.  Rays are a good team, but so are the Tigers. Both would finish 3rd in the AL East, and both (I think) would win the Central


June 12th, 2011 at 12:11 AM ^

also play significantly better defense.  And the Tigers have some guys playing over their head (Avila, Peralta) while the Rays have 2 guys playing worse than they should (Longoria, Upton).

You also can't ignore that the Rays have played an AL East schedule while the Tigers have played an AL Central schedule.  That will skew the overall numbers.


June 12th, 2011 at 11:30 AM ^

I'm not sure Matt Joyce can keep this going, though, since he's hitting about 50 points better than he ever has before, and his OPS is over 120 points better than his career average.  That feels unsustainable to me.  

And for all of the talk about the Rays great defense, I'm a little dubious about UZR since it doesn't always square with the results you see on the field.  I mean, Ryan Raburn is regarded as at least an average outfielder defensively, and that seems insane to me.

Both TB and Det are good teams, and would finish around the same record in either division.  


June 11th, 2011 at 11:41 PM ^

vs. Boston: 1-6 (ugh)

vs. NYY: 4-3

vs. TB: 3-0 so far

vs. Texas: 4-2

The tigers are tied for first in the central, are 1 game back in the entire AL. The white sox are irrelevant at this point. The winner of the central deserves to be in the playoffs. NOT messed up