A 2020 realignment may be good news for the Mets

MLB has whispered to their writers that they want to have games played this year and want to be starting by no later than July 2nd.  They have even publicized having playoff games going as late as Thanksgiving in warm weather neutral sites to accommodate playing more regular season games.  While nothing has been said about how playoffs would work, wanting an odd number (in this case, three) of divisions would bring some form of round-robin or bracket system.
Their current plan is to play games in three states that have many baseball parks available to minimize travel, have few COVID-19 cases and are in warm climates.  The states expected to host games are Florida, Texas and Arizona, and each state will feature a ten team division. Teams will only play other teams in their own state until the playoffs and the MLB parks in those states are expected to host more than one game a day, with very few team off-days in the scheduling and teams playing double headers every week. Since there will not be any fans, seating capacity of the spring training sites to be used are not a problem. Lastly, there is an emphasis on having closed stadiums to minimize rainouts and avoid sweltering heat. Florida has two MLB parks that are closed, Texas has two, and although Arizona only has one, rainouts in Arizona are rare and the humidity is low. An additional perk to Arizona is the parks available are so close to each other that teams will have a very easy travel schedule. This realignment will undoubtedly bring a universal DH as there will be one set of rules for these divisions consisting of both NL and AL teams.
The division breakup offered by Joel Sherman, Bob Nightengale, and several baseball outlets is as follows:
In Florida: Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, Nationals, Phillies, Pirates, Blue Jays, Rays, Marlins.
In Texas:  Brewers, Cardinals, Indians, Braves, Tigers, Reds, White Sox, Cubs, Royals, Twins.
In Arizona:  Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners, Rangers, Astros, Athletics, Rockies, Angels, Padres. Pretty ironic that neither Texas team will get to play in their home state but their ballparks will be used very extensively.  Since there isn’t any travel for teams or fans anyway, it isn’t really fair to let the Rays, Marlins and Diamondbacks be in their home states and parks but make the Texas teams move out. But, that a personal editorial.
These new divisions seem to break very well for the Mets as well as the universal DH.  As a team that planned to rely on several defensively flawed players, the DH will provide enough opportunities to both rest these players and lessen their exposure to defense.  Also, the Mets will have five rebuilding teams in their division and the additional bonus of extracting one of the better teams in the NL East, the Braves, who are now in the Texas division.  Of the four other teams that fancy themselves as potential playoff contenders in the Florida division – the Phillies, Nationals, Yankees and Rays – none of them are without holes.  In fact, this division may be the weakest of the three.

The Texas division seems to be the strongest of the three divisions having the Twins, Braves and Cardinals, vastly improved teams like the Indians, Reds, and White Sox and the still dangerous Cubs and Brewers. It will be tougher for teams looking to get into the playoffs in Texas.  Only the Royals and Tigers are in no shape to compete.

The Arizona division may be the most interesting from a pure baseball fan’s view in that it features the powerhouse Dodgers and Astros in the same division, and the head to head matchups of Mookie Betts and Mike Trout.  Also in the playoff picture are the up and coming Diamondbacks, A’s, Padres and Angels, with the Rockies, Rangers, Mariners and Giants likely in the bottom half of the standings.

Back to the Florida division. We all know the Mets have flaws, but they have the best balance of potentially strong offense and – if you squint a little – potentially enough pitching if the pitchers all pitch to their reputations.  With how the other four contenders shape up, Yankees are tough but pitching flawed this year, the Phillies are also pitching flawed, the Rays are offensively flawed and the Nationals are probably the team with the least obvious holes and best overall balance, but having lost the NL MVP should bring their production down a few notches.  As a Mets fan, I look forward to this alignment and realize this gives the Mets an improved chance at the postseason.

10 comments for “A 2020 realignment may be good news for the Mets

  1. May 1, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    The problem with Arizona is the heat Gus. I see where its going to be over 100 degrees and we’re just in the beginning of May. Usually Arizona hits the century mark in late May. If there is no college baseball I would add Sun Devil Stadium to your list of viable alternatives. But you can use Chase Field Field for daily double headers since they have a retractable dome. My only concern is sanitizing locker rooms and common areas in between games. Everyone involved would have to be tested twice a day mornings and evenings to protect everyone. Playoffs in neutral sites in November can be worked out. We’ll see. Dust storms in Az are infrequent but there should be no rain outs there.

    • TexasGusCC
      May 1, 2020 at 9:16 pm

      You’re right about the heat Pete. I don’t see any day games in Arizona unless they are in Chase Field.

  2. John Fox
    May 1, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    Starting pitching depth will be a key to any team’s success if there are indeed lots of doubleheaders. Pitching depth had been a Mets strength, but with Zack Wheeler gone and Noah Syndergaard out, that may no longer be the case.

    • TexasGusCC
      May 1, 2020 at 9:19 pm

      Definitely John. That’s why moving Lugo into the rotation would be a boon. He has the best stuff outside the rotation and they need to inject talent. Let the rest of the relievers figure it out.

  3. May 1, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    I have heard that games could be shortened to 7 innings too.

    • TexasGusCC
      May 1, 2020 at 9:14 pm

      Jim, I heard that very early in this process when referring to double headers. However, I think the MLBPA would have the biggest problem. Players want as many chances as possible and taking away another trip around the order or a closing opportunity may not sit too well.

      What I’m more afraid of is the starting of each extra inning with a man on second. Hope they don’t do that…

      • May 1, 2020 at 10:12 pm

        In the CPL they start out the extra innings with runners on both first and second. Not sure what the reason is but our record is absolutely terrible in extra inning games since they started this. Not sure how many extra inning games we’ve played (at home) since they instituted this a few years back but if we played 10 games, our record would be 1-9.

        Our old GM insists it’s better to be the visiting team in this situation.

  4. John From Albany
    May 1, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    JimO, I have heard that same 7 inning possibility.

    Gus, It could be Arizona, it could be Florida, it could Taiwan, it could even be the moon. If it means getting back MLB in the safest way for players and their families – sign me up.

  5. May 2, 2020 at 8:36 am

    I would tend to agree the Mets will fair ok in this alignment, however, the damn Yankees, are still the Yankees. Cole, Tanaka, Paxton is not a bad three. Toss up for a 4th starter and even if it is mince meat as a 5th starter, those bats will be on fire against any other team’s 5th starter, and I would bet on Yanks there. Yanks are a problem. Nats still good, Phils much better.This alignment is no cake walk for sure. Beating up on the Marlins, Jays, O’s and Rays, who are seemingly one year good, one year not so much, could be the key.

    • José
      May 2, 2020 at 4:10 pm

      I think the Rays would be the biggest threat. I’ll warrant that despite the obvious pact the Yanks signed with Beelzebub himself, the laws of probability are bound to catch up with them.They can’t keep suffering tons of injuries and yet field an actual pitching staff, and keep pulling out Urshela-types in rabbit-like fashion

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