Realignment Would Benefit Cubs

In a perfect world, the Cubs would have Alfonso Soriano as their designated hitter and not their starting left fielder. But of course, this is far from a perfect world. The National League still does not implement the designated hitter rule, meaning the Cubs still hide Soriano in left field. However, that perfect world–at least baseball wise–may be coming sooner than you think.

You may not be aware, but Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement expires this winter. Sports fans should be no stranger to collective bargaining agreements. The NFL is currently in a lockout due to the lack of an agreement, and the NBA is facing the same troubles that the NFL is. But unlike those two sports, there is not expected to be a lockout in Major League Baseball. But just because there will be no lockout, does not mean there will not be any changes to the game. In fact, there could be a plethora of changes. The biggest change that could be coming would be a realignment of the two leagues. Right now the National League stands at 16 teams, while the American League stands at 14. The current talk going around baseball circles is that the next CBA may bring upon two 15-team leagues. Meaning one team would move from the National League to the American League. It does not take a rocket scientist to determine what team would make the jump. The National League Central has 6 teams, and the American League West has 4 teams. Meaning a NL Central team will move to the AL West. Given their location and their current rivalry with the Texas Rangers, the Houston Astros are the prime candidate to be moved to the American League.

Of course such a move would immediately have an effect on not only the Cubs, but the entire National League Central. Though, given the fact that the Astros are not at the same level they once were in the early 2000s, the move should not impact the top tier teams–the Cardinals, Reds. and Brewers. Instead, it would leave the Cubs vulnerable to being the worst team in their division.

But the biggest difference resulting from a possible realignment would be the fact that interleague play would be on display throughout the entire season, and not for the two month span that it currently is. With that change, that means the National League teams would use a designated hitter more than they normally do. Meaning Soriano would spend less time in the field, and more time as a designated hitter. Though, it still would be a limited amount of games that the Cubs could use a designated hitter.

Which brings me to my next point. If the realignment does actually take place and interleague games go on throughout the entire season, then there would have to be a change to the designated hitter rule. Obviously interleague games would have a greater impact than they currently do, thus increasing the need for the two leagues to be equal. Meaning that either both leagues should use a designated hitter for the entire season, or, the designated hitter position is scratched from all of baseball. But scratching the designated hitter position would only create greater problems, meaning that the best option would be for the National League to install the designated hitter on a full time basis. Under this scenario, the Cubs would be able to use Soriano as  a full time DH and use the opening in left field for one of the handful of outfield prospects in the farm system.

Realignment would be a good thing in baseball to increase equality between the two leagues. But if it is going to be successful, then the two leagues must play under the same rules for the entire season. If such a scenario exists next season, the Cubs would benefit greatly from it.

Topics: Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, MLB, Texas Rangers

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  • Ryan Tadych

    Sorry! I am entirely against the DH! The pitcher should bat! He is a part of the game like everyone else! Period! I also heard that they could get rid of the division and move to 2 15-team leagues and take the top 5 teams in each league (not for this either. I am for making each league have 15 teams!

    • Jordan Campbell

      I share your feeling about the dh. Though, it would be difficult in my opinion for the MLB to scratch it. I also do not like the two division idea, that is too many teams.

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  • StevenF

    ……meaning that the best option would be for the National League to install the designated hitter on a full time basis…
    No, no, no, no, no!!! I don’t wathch the American League BECAUSE of the DH. I want to go back to 2-divisions in each league, with 7-game playoffs, and no more wild cards. Unfortunately I’ll never get my way. I also want balanced schedules. Every team should play the same opponents the same number of times. Why should one Tiger play the Cardinals 4-times while the Yankees play the Pirates 4-times. Yet the Tigers don’t play the Pirates, nor do the Yankees play the Cards that year? Too much is getting bastardized for the sake of additional revenue. I’m a baseball purist, and won’t apologize for it. If you want change, how about an electronic strike zone? I’m sick of umpires calling their own version of balls and strikes. I better stop before this turns into too much of a rant.

  • Ashley

    Not a fan of the DH either, but can see what Jordan is trying to say. If given the chance to use Fonzie as a DH and not our left fielder I think everyone would jump at it. I find the whole idea of realignment exciting, I know I have played the MLB game on Playstation and you can do realignment on there and its fun to play some different teams.

    As much as it would be fun to switch teams around I think that the Cubs are in the perfect divison for them. They have rivalry with the Cards, Brewers and the Reds. I would not like to see the Astros go because as Jordan said it would make the Cubs the worst team in the divison.

    However I think the league does need to even out the two sides and taking a team from the Central will probably be the soultion I just hope it doesn’t make the Cubs the bottom feeder of the divison.

    I beleive the Cubs best years are ahead of them, the young talent is going to carry the Cubs and they will be competitive in a few years. But the Cubs need to remain in the National League Central!

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