MLB Realignment: Florida Marlins, Seattle Mariners Must Be Contracted

Harold FriendChief Writer IApril 20, 2011

Javier Vazquez Could Return to New York
Javier Vazquez Could Return to New YorkDrew Hallowell/Getty Images

It seemingly is a paradox, but upon closer examination, it makes sense. Today's top players are among the best in baseball history, but today's teams are among the worst ever.

Albert Pujols, Evan Longoria, Alex Rodriguez, Joey Hamilton, Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulotwitski, Joey Votto, Ichiro Suzuki and Ryan Howard, in no particular order, can hold their own with the greatest hitters of all time.

Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Felix Hernandez, Tim Lincecum, Jon Lester, Josh Johnson, CC Sabathia, a healthy Adam Wainright and Matt Cain, again in no particular order, are outstanding pitchers who would excel in any era.

The problem is that there are few outstanding teams.

The defending world champion San Francisco Giants are offensively challenged. The Colorado Rockies, like most of the top teams—including New York's other team, the New York Yankees—lack pitching depth.

It is extremely early, but the highly touted Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies have glaring weaknesses. The Sox have a questionable bullpen as well as an offense that was most likely overrated. The Phillies miss Jason Werth terribly and unfortunately may not have Chase Utley this season.

Major League Baseball must make the logical, radical changes.

The Florida Marlins and the Seattle Mariners must be disbanded.

There must be realignment and this will not sit well with older, conservative fans (like me), but some teams must change leagues.

There should be four divisions, each consisting of seven teams.

One American League division might consist of:

American League East

New York Yankees

Boston Red Sox

Philadelphia Phillies

Toronto Blue Jays

Baltimore Orioles

Washington Nationals

New York Mets

The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry continues, the Yankees-Mets rivalry is expanded, and the Mets-Red Sox is a natural.

The Mets-Phillies hate each other, while the Yankees and Phillies have developed real animosity the last few seasons.

The Orioles and Washington rivalry would become more intense. Travel expenses would decrease.

The second American League division:

American League Central

Cleveland Indians

Chicago White Sox

Detroit Tigers

Texas Rangers

Houston Astros

Chicago Cubs

Cincinnati Reds

The rivalry between the Indians and Reds demands Cincinnati changes leagues. The Cubs and White Sox would approach the Yankees-Mets competition, as might the Rangers and Astros.

All American League teams are east of the Rocky Mountains, which would produce great savings in transportation and help combat global warming.

The first National League Division:

National League Central

Atlanta Braves

Milwaukee Brewers

St. Louis Cardinals

Pittsburgh Pirates

Tampa Bay Rays

Kansas City Royals

Minnesota Twins

The Braves used to play in Milwaukee. Now they would be the "hated visitors" more frequently. The Cardinals and Royals fans will feed off the Missouri rivalry.

The second National League Division:

National League West

San Francisco Giants

Los Angeles Dodgers

San Diego Padres

Arizona Diamondbacks

Colorado Rockies

Oakland A's

Los Angeles Angels

This division would have the Giants-Dodgers, the Giants-A's, and the Dodgers-Angels.

Of course, the players union would present tremendous opposition to the elimination of between 50 and 60 jobs, but expanding the rosters by one player, while partially defeating the purpose of contraction, will probably be necessary.

Other steps, such as raising the minimum salary and/or solidifying and not attacking arbitration, could be taken.

The above is merely a beginning. There are flaws, but the major premise is solid. The elimination of two teams is necessary.

It doesn't have to be the two teams selected here. The placement of teams may be modified. Other changes might be suggested, but changes are necessary.

Other issues will be addressed in the next article.


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