Jeff Passan — who, unless I’m wrong, coined the phrase “unalignment” to describe the elimination of divisions several years ago — reports that while the concept of unalignment has been discussed, it’s not terribly likely. His sources tell him that the reason is simple: too crazy! Well, they didn’t say “crazy,” — the phrase “drastic change” was used — but the idea is pretty unconventional and a bit of shock to the conservative world of baseball.
His source tells him, however, the the notion of an NL team moving to the AL to balance things out 15-15 is likely, however.
I’m not yet totally invested in any realignment/unalignment plan I’ve seen — I can see pros and cons of most scenarios — but I am kind of bummed that the stated reason for not pursuing unalignment further is simply that it’s radical. Radical isn’t exactly baseball’s forte, sure, but radical doesn’t mean bad. The fact is that no matter what you tweak, you’re going to have inefficiencies in the scheduling or the competitive balance or the finances or whatever. The point should be — while the subject is on the table — to find the scenario that limits the inefficiencies, not the one that simply limits the amount of overall change.
Though, yes, I’ll grant that at some point change itself could be considered an inefficiency if it alienates fans.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.