Baseball divisions are probably not going anywhere

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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.

Report: Yankees, Reds finalizing trade for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
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Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.

According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.

Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.