Yesterday, MLB Trade Rumors posted about these statements from Bud Selig,
Commissioner Bud Selig told Chris Russo on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio that he’s confident in the Mets, not considering contraction and open to realignment and expanding the playoffs. Here are the details and other highlights:
The Mets asked for and obtained a loan from MLB, but they have not asked for a second loan, despite reports to the contrary.
Though Selig did not tell Mets owner Fred Wilpon to hire new GM Sandy Alderson, he encouraged the Mets to hire his longtime friend. “He’s very competent,” Selig said of Alderson. “Very, very, very smart.”
MLB has “not discussed contraction at all.”
However, Selig is open to changing the structure of baseball’s leagues and divisions. “Realignment is something that in the future I really want to look at particularly before I leave.” It’s not currently a priority for Selig, who likes some geographical realignment.
MLB is “working on” adding two teams to the playoffs and we could see changes as soon as 2012.
I think realignment is something worth talking about. First, we have to decide why we would want to realign the divisions. Here are five reasons I can think of:
1. Competitive balance in terms of market size
2. Encourage Rivalries
3. Cut down on travel times/costs
4. Creating a different playoff structure
5. Adding or subtracting MLB teams
I feel like #3 and #1 are what we should really focus on. #5 isn’t happening, and its tough to speculate what #4 would require. Selig is saying that he wants to add two teams to the playoff, but who knows how he would plan on doing that. I think the biggest problem that baseball has is creating a world where small market teams can, as a unit, compete against big market ones. Sure, your occasional Rays team can happen, but baseball suffers when teams like Baltimore and Toronto enter season after season with practically no hope of making the playoffs because they occupy a division with the Red Sox and Yankees. Here are two proposed solutions:
Now, I don’t actually think that either of these plans would ever work. They’re just my way of having fun. The first plan respects the AL and NL teams while the second plan combines them together by geographic proximity. I tried to make a more realistic travel time mock-up, but the divisions are pretty much already organized that way.
Personally, I kind of like the Travel Time divisions. They double as being rivalry machines, with all the two-team cities pairing up against each other except for Los Angeles (there was no better way). Its also pretty well balanced in terms of market size, as the Acela division absorbs the true heavyweights of payroll on baseball. It’ll never happen, since it basically involves blowing up the AL and NL and starting over, but I think I would do it.
I’m not going to do another mock-up for it, but there are small fixes that could potentially happen. You could switch Baltimore and Washington between divisions, adding a potentially high-payroll contender to the AL East and giving Baltimore a little bit more of a break. You could send the Brewers and possibly one more team back to the American League Central, leaving 14 in the NL and 16 in the AL. Or you could go back to 2 divisions, which would look something like this:
This makes sense if Selig wants to put 6 teams in the playoffs. The top 3 teams in each division would make the playoffs, with the first place team probably getting a Bye. Travel time goes way up, but it gives teams like Baltimore and Toronto a little more hope.
But that’s enough of my talking. How would all of you guys realign the divisions, if you were Selig?