Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Moving the Goal Posts

SI writer Joe Posnanski, on his excellent blog (www.joeposnanski.com) has a idea: swapping the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Kansas City Royals. I whole-heartedly agree. Frankly, any change that lessens the Pirates’ natural desire to lose comically is fine by me.

Posnanski is on to something. Pittsburgh would, I think, thrive in the AL Central; a weak division by anyone’s standards. The Pirates could certainly move than hold their own against the current White Sox and Indians teams and likely wouldn’t be embarrassed by Minnesota or Detroit. A year or two to allow their current crop of prospects to develop (including the opportunity to let Pedro Alvarez acclimatise to the Majors as a DH) and the Pirates could conceivable make a run at the post-season, something highly unlikely to happen in their current league.

The less said about the Royals’ chances in the NL Central the better. That team will be appalling no matter where it plays.

Joe’s idea got me thinking about other potential swaps that might benefit both teams involved. I thought about a Texas team swap: Rangers to the NL, Astros to the AL. I can see the upside in this for the Rangers: get into a division without the Angels in it, big gates when the Dodgers and Giants come to visit, the amount of HRs their lineup will hit playing so many games at either Arlington or Coors Field. Try as a might though I don’t see much upside for Houston, other than the fact that their young non-Roy Oswalt pitching core will see a reduction in collective ERA from pitching so many games at Safeco Field and the Oakland Collesium.

No, as far as I’m aware the best, more mutually beneficial trade would be for the two Florida teams to swap leagues. Everyone’s a winner here!

Tampa Bay have played like a National League team throughout Madden’s tenure as manager. Their recent improvements are hampered by the resources the Red Sox and Yankees have available and it is decidedly unlikely that they will ever emerge as a consistent division winner, or wild-card contender. Plus, they don’t have a proper DH.

A move to the NL East would allow the Rays the opportunity to contend for a wild-card spot (if not the division itself, assuming the Phillies don’t stay dominant forever), plus draw fans to Tropicana Field with the prospect of several repeats of the 2008 World Series every year. Jason Heyward and Braves should also provide Tampa with another big-gate attraction similar (if not equal) to the visits of the Yankees and Sox.

The Marlins need a reason for people to go to their revolting ball-park. The Yankees and the Red Sox are this reason. Dolphin Stadium should sell out for a repeat of the 2003 World Series against the Yankees right? Or, how about Josh Beckett returning to Miami, or Hanley Ramirez getting the opportunity to punish his former employers for shipping him off to this wretched franchise?

The Marlins don’t stand much chance of competing in the AL East at the moment, but, given the new stadium and the (presumably) increased revenue flow that the move would generate, it seems possible that the days of Miami fire-sales could come to the end and the team could return to the now barely-plausible days of being a World Series contender.

Seems sensible to me.

How about swapping the Red Sox with the Phillies, I could get behind that.

1 comment:

  1. To protect the integrity of the AL and NL,I'm not for moving any original teams between leagues. I wouldn't mind switching TB to NL, but I'd create two natural rivalries by switching them with Washington and keeping Florida in the NL. By the way, I wouldn't do this with any other natural rivals (i.e. Mets and Yankees) Again, league integrity.

    If you want to create better conditions for rebuilding teams, have two divisions instead of three. Then depending on previous years finish, I'd have the top four teams play top four teams; and bottom four teams play the bottom four teams. No wild cards. No interleague play. 126 games against pennant rivals.

    To see this plan in action check out pennantracebaseball.com