Must-click link: ranking the possible relocation and expansion markets

30 Comments

About once I year I link to a story about some plan in a non-MLB town to lure a baseball team. The plan is almost always a pipe dream and there’s always a fatal flaw.  Then, in the comments, someone says that it’s a no-brainer to move a team to Las Vegas. Then I write a post explaining why I think Las Vegas is a horrible idea for a major league team. Then we go round and round.

Maury Brown has a post up at Baseball Prospectus today that should save us all some time. In it he ranks the top potential destinations for a relocating major league team, listing the stats, the pros and the cons.  It’s a pretty comprehensive list of candidates.

And guess what: Las Vegas isn’t at the top. Guess what else: the only truly workable one — as I’ve noted before — is the New York metro area, and that’s not really workable given MLB’s anti-competitive territory system. So it really doesn’t look like there are any great landing spots.

But at least with Maury’s piece we now have a good one-stop resource for our arguing purposes.

Mookie Betts could play second base in the World Series

Mookie Betts
Getty Images
1 Comment

The Red Sox have some tough decisions to make in advance of the World Series next week; namely, what to do with some of their hottest-hitting players once the series shifts to a National League park — and National League rules. During a press conference on Saturday, manager Alex Cora said he’d be open to the idea of starting All-Star right fielder Mookie Betts at second base when the club’s regular DH, J.D. Martinez, is forced to play the outfield during away games.

The Red Sox carry home field advantage through the Fall Classic, so Games 1 and 2 will be played at Fenway Park — as well as Games 6 and 7, should those become necessary. Depending on the outcome of NLCS Game 7 later tonight, World Series Games 3 through 5 will be played at Dodger Stadium or Miller Park. That’s when Betts might take over the keystone from Ian Kinsler and Brock Holt, both of whom have shared second base duties over the course of the 2018 postseason.

The idea isn’t without merit. Betts and Martinez comprise two of the team’s top talents at the plate and, should the Red Sox need to stave off elimination in Games 4 and 5, sitting either of them doesn’t make sense. The 26-year-old Betts led the team with a staggering .346/.438/.640 batting line, 32 home runs, 30 stolen bases, and career-best 10.4 fWAR over 614 PA, while Martinez posted some career totals of his own, slashing .330/.402/.629 with 43 home runs, a 1.031 OPS, and 5.9 fWAR in 649 PA. This wouldn’t be the first time Betts has taken reps at second, either, as he’s logged 15 games at the position over the course of his five-year career, most recently during a 4-1 win over the Yankees in August.

Whether or not Betts is considered a lock for all three games is another question, one to which Cora didn’t give a definite answer. “I don’t know, man,” the skipper told reporters Saturday. “[Betts] already played second during the regular season, so there’s always a chance, I guess.” He later added that while Betts would be taking ground balls at second, it’s part of the routine he’s maintained all year — so nothing should be read into it until a clear decision has been announced.