White Sox: How MLB expansion and realignment can help
While the current MLB season waits to be started, it’s worth noting that some changes will come to the league in the coming years, including MLB expansion. Here is how MLB expansion could be used to improve the American League and help the White Sox chances of making the playoffs.
Major League Baseball has a lot of imminent changes that are on the horizon. This includes; 26 players on a team, the designated hitter in the National League, and the questionable three-batter reliever minimum.
League expansion could be imminent as well, as it has been written about in Baseball America. As the game will likely add at least two more teams by the end of the decade, the divisions will be changed to accommodate these moves, and baseball standings will look more like the NFL.
These changes may or may not have major implications for the Chicago White Sox. While it could be argued the team doesn’t need any help as the division is already pretty weak and the team looks to be pretty good soon, I would hope that the White Sox organization would have their best interests at heart when agreeing to divisional realignment.
Here is the structuring I would do to best help the game, as well as historically struggling teams like the White Sox, Mariners, and Blue Jays.
- New York Yankees
- Boston Red Sox
- Montreal Expos/Tampa Bay Rays
- Baltimore Orioles
According to The Sporting News, the plan is for the Rays to have a sister-city team with Montreal, having them play in two cities. If this is the case, the only division that makes sense in the AL East. The Orioles also don’t have any other place they can be put, and there isn’t any division where they would be competitive with their current roster.
- Chicago White Sox
- Cleveland Indians
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Detroit Tigers
Well, some would argue the current AL Central is already easy enough, this divisional change would be good for a number of reasons. For one, the White Sox would lose their worst nemesis, the Twins, who would be forced to compete in a more difficult division.
The Blue Jays would get out of the AL East division, which has rough for them as they have only two playoff appearances in the last 25 years. Instead, they can restore their rivalry with the Tigers.
Some Sox fans might miss the White Sox-Twins rivalry, but I certainly wouldn’t. I’m not sure what fun there ever was in that rivalry, unless you like missing the playoffs and finishing in second place each year, only to see the team that beats you get taken to school by the New York Yankees in the first round of the playoffs every time.
We’ve seen that story too many times, and I think it’s time to change up the script to improve ratings for playoff baseball.
- Minnesota Twins
- Houston Astros
- Texas Rangers
- Kansas City Royals
All of these teams are in the central time zone, but three of them were original members of the AL West, so it’s possible the division could be called that instead. While you wouldn’t think of these teams as going together, the travel schedule would be pretty easy. The Houston Astros also deserve a harder division as punishment for their cheating in the world series.
- Seattle Mariners
- Las Vegas/Oakland Athletics
- Los Angeles Angels
- Portland (expansion)
All of these cities are in the Pacific Time Zone, and putting them together would make travel much easier for the teams especially the Mariners, who according to Gizmodo have suffered over the years due to tough travel scheduling.
These teams haven’t had much success since the 1990s, with only one world series title, so putting them together would give at least one a chance to succeed each year.
Hopefully, when MLB does expansion and realignment, they will come up with a structure similar to this.