We learned over the weekend that Major League Baseball is considering realignment. The initial report presented one scenario where the Astros could be moved to the American League. However, it appears they aren’t the only team under consideration.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Diamondbacks could be the team “most likely” to change leagues under realignment.
“We would do whatever’s best for baseball,” said Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall, whose team would move to the American League West from the National League West under one of the plans being discussed by MLB and the players’ association. “Most would say us or the Astros would be best candidates (to shift leagues).”
Granted, the Astros have never won a World Series like the D-Backs have, but this would make some more sense from a traditionalist perspective. The franchise has been in the National League since they were introduced as the Colt .45’s in 1962. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks have only been around since 1998.
Here are some more comments from Hall via Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic:
“Naturally, we would look into it if asked about it. But I’m not sure we’d ever get to that point because I think other teams make more sense geographically than we do. For me personally I’m a National League guy. I like the pace of the game, the strategy of the game. That’s what I prefer. I would want to hear what our fans prefer, but I’m not sure we would ever get to that point.”
Buster Olney reported over the weekend that realignment only has a “50-50” chance of being passed, but union chief Michael Weiner confirmed earlier today that discussions are expected to continue.
The Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.
Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).
John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.
What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.
The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?