It’s no doubt the NL West has been of the best divisions in baseball over the last decade. Since 2012, the NL West has had a member play in the NLCS eight out of the ten seasons and five times played in the World Series thanks to a decade of championships between the Giants and Dodgers. Most recently, the San Diego Padres made it NLCS this past season and again are expected to be on of the best teams in the National League in 2023. One thing that may be help the Rockies overall is the new balanced schedules that will begin next season, meaning that the Rockies will play their division less often than in season’s past. But even so, with the level of competition within the NL West, is MLB expanding to 32 teams and realigning the divisions the Rockies best hope to finally win that elusive division title?
Of the biggest four sports leagues in North America, MLB has gone the longest since adding expansion teams. The last round expansion teams added the Tampa Bay Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks, and with it, the division alignment we still have today. In a June interview with ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr., Commissioner Rob Manfred said he “would love to see 32 teams” and that expansion is should be coming soon to the league.
With two extra teams added, the alignment of divisions will probably follow with the most likely outcome being eight divisions, four AL and four NL, consisting of four teams. Woody Paige wrote about a similar topic in April during the lockout, which you can read about his logistics and holdbacks here. One of the main holdbacks would be the major reshuffling of the American and National League teams that would change a lot of tradition, but the addition of new teams would help owners and players alike. Depending on the where the two new expansion teams are located would determine how relocation changes the divisions. Below are some of the most popular cities thrown out as suggestions:
If MLB were to expand, which city should get a team?— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) April 13, 2021
@Verly32 lists his top 5 cities for potential MLB expansion! ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/vHBkeFBxuS
Would expansion and division realignment actually help the Rockies in the long run? Outside major changes to management and the front office, the Rockies are at big disadvantage already compared to their current division rivals. The Dodgers and Giants are among the league’s best when it comes to talent scouting and development. Even the Padres have also shown to be aggressive to trade their farm talent for proven MLB talent. Between those three teams alone, the Rockies will have a tough time competing for the division for the foreseeable future regardless how the team is ran.
With changes to the divisions, the Rockies might be put into a division with less dominant teams, meaning less games against the best teams in the league. The 2017 Wild Card team may have had a better record if they did not have to play both the Dodgers and D-Backs, 90+ win teams, 19 times each that season and have been hosting the Wild Card game instead.
On the other hand, regardless of what division the Rockies would be put into come realignment time, a successful franchise will likely be there. Back to Woody Paige suggested alignment and expansion proposal, the Rockies would be in a division with the Royals, Twins, and Astros. So they might be getting rid of the Dodgers, but would be getting a team that has reigned supreme in the American League. If realignment does come and the Rockies end up in a weaker division, the team could use it as an advantage to be apart of the playoff picture more often. The Dodgers are always in the conversation for the best in the NL, combined with the Padres coming off an NLCS appearance, and the Giants being only a season removed from a 107 win, it will be hard to find a new division as loaded as the current NL West.
Depending on the where the Rockies end up and other factors such as expanding the playoffs once again, a change in the division could be the best way for the Rockies to be competitive for playoff spots. Their current division will be tough to break through in the near future, but until MLB sets a plan for new teams and new divisions, the Rockies are stuck with who they have now.
Or the Rockies can make major changes to their franchise and front office that will make them competitive regardless of the division they play in, i.e. the Tampa Bay Rays.
What do you think? Is a new division and new teams the best hope for the Rockies future success? Let us know in the comments!
★ ★ ★
Team USA is back in the World Baseball Classic in March of next year to defend their crown won back in 2017. Rockies’ LHP Kyle Freeland announced on Friday that he would be pitching for the American squad come March. Michael Clair notes that Kyle Freeland’s ability to pitch at the hitter friendly confines of Coors Field will help Team USA when facing All-Stars from around the world. Freeland is already in the top ten in Rockies’ franchise history for wins and his ERA+ of 114 ranks second all time. Kyle Freeland joins his former teammates Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story who previously joined the squad. The World Baseball Classic begins in March with Team USA playing it’s first game March 11 in Pool C.
The MLB Players’ Association (MLBPA) elected six new members to the executive committee to represent the players’ interests. Newly acquired Rockies’ pitcher Brent Suter joins the committee along with Lance McCullers Jr., Jack Flaherty, Ian Happ, Austin Slater, Lucas Giolito as the newcomers. Marcus Semien and Francisco Lindor are the two incumbents to the executive committee. All of these players will serve on the executive committee for two years.
★ ★ ★
Please keep in mind our Purple Row Community Guidelines when you’re commenting. Thanks!