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2018 MLB Hot Stove Season

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5 hours ago, AstroBull21 said:

John Farrell will not be returning to the Red Sox...

 

http://www.wcvb.com/article/john-farrell-out-as-red-sox-manager/12823346

 

Hopefully John Henry and Tom Werner are faaaarrrrrrrr away from the eventual decision to hire Brad Ausmus as the new manager of the Red Sox. Their pettiness (but mostly Larry Lucchino) is what led to the Sox dismissing Terry Francona.

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Seems like John Farrell was a pretty convenient scapegoat for the Red Sox falling short this year. There was a huge crowd of fans calling for his head all season, but of course it's always easier to blame one individual than address the real issues on the roster. I'm not sure that Farrell was necessarily a great manager, but I know he wasn't a bad manager either. I feel like his firing doesn't really change anything. Curious to see what happens going forward.

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It's definitely not the kneejerk reaction Francona's lay off was.  

Farrell definitely made some huge mistakes, particularly with the baserunning ideology and how he handling the bullpen. 

 

But yes, he wasn't the their only problem. The team still lacks a clear leader or motivator. 

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Baseball America makes a nice case for expansion, realignment, scheduling, etc.

 

http://www.baseballamerica.com/columnists/expansion-trigger-realignment-longer-postseason/#DT2jhhZVp7o6fF5x.97

 

4 8-team divisons:

Quote

East: Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Washington.

North: Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota, Montreal, both New York franchises and Toronto.

Midwest: Both Chicago franchises, Colorado, Houston, Kansas City, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Texas.

West: Anaheim, Arizona, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.

 

Quote

Key elements of this alignment:

  • A 156-game schedule would include 24 total games against the eight teams in each of the three other divisions—three games against each opponent.
  • The schedule would include 12 games—six home and six road—against each of the seven divisional opponents.
  •  The format would provide for an off day every week (such as every Monday or Thursday) and would fit into the same foot print for beginning and ending as the 2018 schedule. The season could start on a weekend, which would offset only one three-game series played the week of the All-Star Game.
  • The 156-game schedule would reduce each team's slate by six games, but revenue could be made up by a major reduction in travel costs.
  • Fan interest could be maintained by allowing for the four first-place teams in each division to advance to the postseason, and having play-in games against the eight remaining teams with the best records.
  • The winners of the four wild card games would advance to the Division Series, which would feature a wild card team against each division champion.
  • Those four winners would advance to the Championship Series, and the winners of that round would meet in the World Series.
  • That would add postseason product to the broadcast packages and provide postseason hope for 12 of the 32 franchises, which could boost attendance in September, again offsetting any impact from the season being six games shorter.
  • With a day off every week, there would be a regular rest routine, much like prior to expansion when teams would often play Sunday doubleheaders and Monday would be off. It could be used for travel so teams did not have to make long flights, arriving in cities at 3 a.m. or later.
  • And the schedule would drastically reduce travel, while keeping teams in their time zones, except for the Rockies and Twins. They, however, would be playing teams in a time zone an hour earlier, which is less demanding than an hour later, and also provides increased TV ratings because of prime time viewing. The other intra-division teams would have to travel to Colorado or Minnesota just six games per year.
  • All teams would open the season with an inter-division series, and all out-of-division road trips would be two-city trips.

 

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I agree with most of their points, but 156 games is not happening. That's losing revenue from 90 matchups (15 teams playing each other 6 times). Granted, I dunno if those plans would work with 162 games.

 

Also, I see they basically want to do NBA-style divisions, which I don't like. There should still be an AL and NL, so you can always have interleague matchups between New York teams, L.A. teams, etc.

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My first thought on floating expansion is that the A's and Rays need somewhere to threaten to move to.

 

I'm not totally sold on the travel argument BA makes. To me that's not just team travel costs (and attendant performance and player rest issues), there's also a bit of fan attention cost to following a team travel more than a time zone away (weird start times and all). Baseball being driven by local fan affiliation that's matters. So in 2018 the Mariners have 27 road games in the proposed west (+Colorado)- so with 81 home dates, that's 108 easily watchable games in their time zone or the next one over (unless I counted wrong). In this scenario its up to 112/113 if I did my math right (156/2 = 78. 24 other division opponents - Colorado in Mountain Time= 69, 69/2= 34.5, 34.5+78=112.5).

 

That's not a particularly big gain. Right now the Mariners play in the eastern time zone 20 times. Under BA they're in the east 22 times roughly, so that's not a great help. My White Sox go to the west coast for 10/year right now. that stays about the same.

 

Side note: in the BA alignment I'd actually split NY and Chicago teams from each other. Flip the White Sox and Twins and Mets and Orioles. But that undercuts the travel argument.

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Why not just four leagues of eight teams?  The only teams eligible for playoffs are the league winners.

 

And Portland would NEVER be in MLB unless they build a stadium.  They're not going to play in the old Triple A stadium, since it's now a soccer specific park.  

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As a Rangers fan, the Astros moving to the AL West changed my perspective on geographic realignment. The Lone Star Series went from a cute novelty that no one really cared about to an actual, legitimate rivalry. I'm now convinced that baseball would greatly benefit from Yankees-Mets, Dodgers-Angels etc. being rivalries with something more than 6 regular season games a year and bragging rights at stake. I'm also in favor of anything that gets the Rangers out of a division where they play 20+ West Coast road games a year, and that's not happening with the current American League.

 

When it comes to the alignment itself, I don't like how they divide up the East Coast and Midwest teams, but there's not really a great way to group them up without at least a little weirdness. Here's my stupid idea, where the Chicago teams are broken up:

 

Pacific: Seattle, Portland, SF, Oakland, Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Diego, Arizona
Midwest: Texas, Houston, Colorado, KC, StL, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Chicago Cubs
Central: Miami, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Chicago White Sox
Atlantic: Boston, New York Yankees, New York Mets, Philly, Washington, Baltimore, Montreal, Toronto

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I prefer the 156-game schedule.  It has some historical precedent (or was it 154?  go to whatever it was) and either ending earlier or having more off days are both positives.

 

The rest of this sucks for these reasons:

  • 12 playoff teams with a bunch of one-game play-ins.  No.  Baseball's playoffs need to be special to make and once you've made it, you (and the fans) deserve a series hat highlights the starting rotations.
  • All the intra-city matchups now being in the same division...I am sure some see it as a positive.  I don't.  I like that they are in opposite leagues and those cities/metros have a team in each league that don't interact with each other a lot.
  • Getting rid of the NL and AL.  Nothing more needs to be said.  Well, except that this would mean the end of baseball the way it should be played; without the DH. Too much like the NHL...need to have the cachet of AL and NL pennants, etc.
  • The geographic alignment.  OK, there are some positives (reduced travel) but it's just spitting in the face of tradition.  Yeah, yeah, too many anal traditionalists...but history is a big part of what makes baseball what it is.  
    • As aside, the weird placement of the Twins away from teams like Chicago, Milwaukee, KC, etc. would be a silver lining for me.  Lots of early road games.  I like that...I hate the Wild and T-Wolves having so many late ones.

 

I guess one positive is that there's a bit more schedule integrity since it does not have to be quite as unbalanced and set up for "inter-league rivalries."

 

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Not a fan of eliminating AL and NL. Expansions and adding 4 divisions is a great opportunity to keep the Leagues separate again. Also that realignment will destroy some classic rivalries. 

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I personally dont want the NL and AL to go away because then my two favorite teams, the Phillies and Orioles would become division rivals in the realignment proposals.

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I wouldn't mind if they just went to 16 team AL and NL with no divisions, a single table schedule, and then the top 5 teams in each league make the playoffs. It'd be the most fair. I tried to do 8 divisions of 4 and it resulted in the Marlins making the playoffs in my NL East alignment and we can't have that. 8 divisions of 4 would suck worse for baseball than it would for the NFL. 

 

Here's how the NL would look this year:

1. Dodgers

2. Nationals

3. Diamondbacks

4. Cubs

5. Rockies

---------------------

6. Brewers

7. Cardinals

8. Marlins

9. Pirates 

10. Braves

11. Padres

12. Mets

13. Reds

14. Phillies

15. Giants

16. Expos

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Dusty Baker is another victim of the Nationals rotating door of managers. Nationals currently in their most successful period have gone through 3 managers since 2012 winning the division 4 times. Meanwhile the Mets, Phillies and Braves have gone through less managers in that same period. 

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Good. Hiring Dusty Baker was a stupid move to begin with. I think they bailed on Matt Williams a bit too soon, and ended up hiring pretty much the worst retread they could've to replace him. This is a correction to a mistake, if anything. 

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Word going around is that Alex Cora is apparently going to be the Red Sox manager. 

 

At least it's not Gardenhire, Poor Tigers. 

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7 hours ago, Bucfan56 said:

Good. Hiring Dusty Baker was a stupid move to begin with. I think they bailed on Matt Williams a bit too soon, and ended up hiring pretty much the worst retread they could've to replace him. This is a correction to a mistake, if anything. 

Career record of 1863-1636, and a 192-132 record with a Nationals team that was known for being huge underachievers.  I dunno, you could do worse than hiring Baker.

 

The bigger albatross is likely leaving the Nationals....no more Jayson Werth or that insane 7-year, $120 million contract.

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Matt WIlliams is much, much worse than Dusty. This is a weird, panicky move and there's probably more going into it than the team's losing in the first round again.

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2 hours ago, HedleyLamarr said:

Career record of 1863-1636, and a 192-132 record with a Nationals team that was known for being huge underachievers.  I dunno, you could do worse than hiring Baker.

 

The bigger albatross is likely leaving the Nationals....no more Jayson Werth or that insane 7-year, $120 million contract.

 

That's precisely why hiring Dusty Baker was such a bad move to begin with. This is the FOURTH franchise he's been with, and the fourth different franchise he's fallen short with. This was by far the most predictable one, too. I totally get why they fired Matt Williams, and even though it was tough because I'm such a huge fan of his, he had simply lost that locker room and really didn't make good in-game decisions. But they basically replaced him with a guy who's got an even LONGER track record of making the same kind of awful in-game decisions. I thought it was hilarious when the Dodgers were talking about him after firing Mattingly because the idea of him taking that cash stacked roster and bouncing them out in the NLDS with bad pitching change after bad pitching change sounded awesome. But with the Nationals it just sounded sad, because they've been doing that to themselves their entire existence. They didn't need any help in that regard. Then they opened up the doors to their kerosene soaked powder keg and let Dusty Baker waltz right on in with his his box of toothpick shaped matches and this is what they ended up with. SHOCKER. 

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1 hour ago, The Six said:

Matt WIlliams is much, much worse than Dusty. This is a weird, panicky move and there's probably more going into it than the team's losing in the first round again.

Agreed. There was probably a lot of clubhouse drama we don’t know about. And the way the Nats blew Gm5, no manager could have survived that. 

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