AL West: Will the Texas Rangers Battle the Arizona Diamondbacks for the Title?

Timothy Howell@@tmurrayhowellCorrespondent IIJune 15, 2011

Will the Arizona Diamondbacks get a chance to take a cut at the pitching in the AL West?
Will the Arizona Diamondbacks get a chance to take a cut at the pitching in the AL West?Christian Petersen/Getty Images

On a night when even the great Alexi Ogando gets roughed up, it seems as if the Texas Rangers are doing their best to make sure they stay out of the limelight as much as possible. 

Mighty nice of them.

It's only fitting, since all local sports attention should, rightfully so, fall on the hulking shoulders of Dirk Nowitzki and his Dallas Mavericks after their first NBA Championship.  At least for the next week or so…

Regardless, the Texas Rangers are—by proxy—in the headlines, and not just for their recently misplaced offense (somewhere Thad Bosley is laughing heartily) or their recently lackluster pitching. 

The Texas Rangers are in the news because they currently occupy the only division in MLB that has only four teams.  The NL Central currently holds six teams thus a move for a team from a division that has six teams to a division that has only four makes so much sense its almost illogical.

Two days ago, USA Today published an article about how they surmised that the Arizona Diamondbacks are the likely contender to make the switch to the American League West.  Should the Diamondbacks jump ship to the AL, they’d be the first team to switch leagues since 1998 when the Milwaukee Brewers moved from the American League Central to the National League Central.

The article also hinted that the Houston Astros might be another option to move from the NL to the AL. This is something that  has been discussed for quite some time, however.

If the D'Backs flee the 'old league', it would drop the NL West to four teams, which would prompt the NL Central to move on of their teams to the NL West. The NL Central currently puts a roof over six teams' heads, the Astros being one of said teams. It would be logical for the Astros to then move to the NL West to even up the Central to five teams.  

The biggest losers in this scenario, of course, are the five teams in the NL Central that won't get to play the punch-less and pitching-free Astros frequently.

But as is usually the case with supposed moves like this, it is in all likelihood a year or two away, making the conversation largely based on pure conjecture.  However should the Astros or D’Backs move into the Rangers’ home turf, how would this bode for our beloved Texas Rangers?

To be blunt, in either case, it’s not exactly like the Philadelphia Phillies are crowding our condo. It certainly wouldn't make the AL West as tough as the old-school divisions were in the mid 1980’s.  Of course, the 21st Century Rangers aren’t nearly as abysmal as their 80's counterparts were either.

But just for kicks, here’s how the AL West would’ve broken down with the Arizona Diamondbacks in on an AL West sublease in 2010.  Of special note, however, is that the Dan Haren trade would probably never have been made—since it would’ve strengthened an AL West opponent.  But it wouldn't really matter, because Haren would still be pitching against the Rangers (and Angels for that matter) on a fellow AL West team, if only a fictitious one.

Also of merit to mention is that obviously, we’ll never know if these teams would’ve had the same record given the shakedown in divisional rivals (it gives Mariners fans hope) but just for fun and sanity, let’s assume they would’ve.

2010 AL West Standings (with the Diamondbacks)

1.Texas Rangers 90-72 .556

2.Oakland Athletics 81-81 .500

3.Los Angeles Angels 80-82 .494

4.Arizona Diamondbacks 65-97 .401

5. Seattle Mariners 61-101 .377

Certainly nothing to get too upset about, as if anything, the addition of the D’Backs just provides another way to look at how pathetic the Mariners were in 2010.  And who’s not for that? 

And the NL West—with the subtraction of the D’Backs and addition of the Astros—would just simply have a new and shiny, last-place team.  The Astros would find ample cause for concern, as they would leave a weak NL Central where they could still somewhat have a chance—only to become cellar dwellers.  

And in the scenario, if the Diamondbacks stayed pat, and the Astros moved to the AL West, there’d be no need to switch anything else around since the team with the most teams (NL Central) would resize to five, as would the division with the fewest teams (AL West). 

The Astros addition to the AL West would be exactly the same as the aforementioned scenario where the D’Backs moved to the AL West: they’d be a next-to-last-place team functioning as little more than an indictment on the crap-tastic and offensively-challenged 2010 M’s.

Another potential option would be to ship the NY Yankees to the Japanese Baseball League.  Sure, that would defeat the purpose of balance, but I’m sure we’d all cope in our wonderful, Yankees-less baseball utopia.  And for those of you on the fence, it would also systematically get rid of Yankees fans—who tend to represent the worst in human beings.

So in retrospect, if either the Diamondbacks or the Astros were to occupy the Rangers' AL West next year or any other time in the future, our response should be as follows:

Bring it on...but we'd rather have the Houston Astros.  


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