Bud Selig’s special committee is making some pretty crazy news.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci, the 14-man committee is discussing a proposal that calls for "floating" realignment, which would allow teams to change divisions from year-to-year based on geography, payroll and their plans to contend or not.
Alex Remington over at FanGraphs says people shouldn’t quickly dismiss such a radical idea.
One of the issues that this is supposed to solve is in the AL East, where teams like Baltimore, Toronto and Tampa Bay face long odds in trying to make the postseason every year when they play 18 or so games each season against Boston and the New York Yankees.
Let’s assume for a second that baseball does have a competitive balance issue. I know not everyone would agree with that. Some would argue that the Yankees have won only one World Series since 2002, so that proves they aren’t dominating. Others would point to the fact that they’ve missed the playoffs just once since 1995 (the wild-card era) to say they are dominating.
But just this once, let’s all pretend that we all agree there are competitive balance issues. Radical realignment like the one proposed above only solves half the problems. Sure, the Orioles and the Blue Jays might have an easier time competing if they moved a season here or a season there to the AL Central or AL West.
But tackling competitive balance should also mean the "haves" like the Red Sox or Yankees come back down to Earth. Under the above proposal, their hopes of making the playoffs would only improve, because they’d basically play against teams in their division that simply aren’t trying (you’ll have to read the link to understand how all of this works).
I’d rather see the league get a salary cap and salary floor before a proposal like this is considered. Problem is, to get a cap or floor would results in a lengthy strike or lockout. There’s no doubt about that.
As much as it stinks that the Yankees make the playoffs every year nowadays, how about the period from 1921-64? During that 44-year stretch, the Yankees played in the World Series a staggering 29 times! This type of Yankees success as what we’ve seen recently is nothing new. It’s just a matter of whether or not Major League Baseball wants to do something about it.