Yankees news: MLB realignment would further boost New York’s playoff chances
By Ryan Doyle
In today’s Yankees news, a proposed MLB realignment would put New York in prime position to roll to the postseason.
As Major League Baseball continues to mull its options for the 2020 regular season, one recent proposal would bode well for the New York Yankees.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that the MLB is weighing an option that would realign the league for the year. Teams would be split into three geography-based divisions, getting rid of the National League and American League setup.
The Yankees would be placed in a division alongside the New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, and Miami Marlins.
At first glance, the AL East sticks together in the new alignment which is certainly good news for the Yankees. A year ago, the Yanks would run away with the division, boasting a 54-22 record against their rivals.
From there, the NL East (minus the Atlanta Braves) joins the party, including defending World Series Champion Washington Nationals. Throw in the Pittsburgh Pirates, who finished last in the NL Central a year ago and it doesn’t look like much competition for New York.
Back to the AL East, the only likely contender out of that group is Tampa Bay. The Rays were extremely strong last year, posting the second-best staff ERA in the majors last year. Tampa can deploy a plethora of hard-throwing weapons in the mound. The young starting trio of Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and Yonny Chirinos with veteran Charlie Morton will be enough to challenge the Yanks in a shortened season.
Tampa aside, the rest of the traditional AL East teams won’t be a threat. Boston and Toronto have the talent to make a surprise run in a shortened season but they don’t have the pitching depth to be taken seriously on paper.
Oh, let’s not forget the Orioles, who the Yankees went 17-2 against last year. Having that squad around will also make Gleyber Torres quite happy.
Now, the Nationals, Mets, and Phillies are the remaining teams in win-now mode. Philadelphia and the Metropolitans were competitive for stretches last year but come loaded with star power. Power pitchers like Jacob deGrom and Aaron Nola will keep both teams in the mix in the long run. Still, it’s hard to imagine the Yankees not being able to handle either squad.
The other threat to New York are the Nationals. They lost All-Star Anthony Rendon in the offseason but boast what will likely be one of the best rotations in baseball with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin.
Although there are a number of contenders in the division, the Rays and Nats are probably the only two teams that pose a serious threat for the new division crown.
That leaves the bottom feeders of the NL Central and East, the Pirates and Marlins. Nothing to add here aside from two more teams the Bombers should be able to rock much like they did Baltimore a year ago.
This is only one of many proposals that are being mulled by MLB executives. However, the idea of region-based divisions is probably something that MLB teams will seriously consider. It will limit travel, thus limiting contact and potential contraction of COVID-19 and allow teams to play at their own ballparks.
The idea of the game being broken up into regions will unintentionally benefit the Bombers, mostly due to subpar competition, the addition of an NL East without its champion from a year ago and the ability to avoid the Oakland Athletics, Minnesota Twins, and Houston Astros, the remainder of last year’s AL postseason representatives.
There will be more and more proposals leaked and deliberated over the coming days and weeks. However, the notion of baseball limiting travel by only playing teams in a specific region will certainly make the Yankees schedule more manageable when considering the lackluster teams in the East.