Realignment and the Winds of Change

The baseball meetings in Milwaukee are progressing and today the news broke about realignment.  Let me preface this by saying I am a conservative person.  Not just politically, but in all ways.  Change for the sake of change serves no purpose in my mind.  So how does this realignment strike me as a baseball purist, compared to other possibilities.  To be honest I can see arguments on both sides of the equation and as a Reds fan, in general, I am okay with what has transpired.

Let’s see if we can decipher what it all means and what 2013 will look like.

  1. 18 games vs each division opponent.  In 2011, the Reds played St. Louis, Houston and Pittsburgh 15 times, Milwaukee 16 times and the Cubs 18 times.
  2. Other NL opponents will face the Reds 6 games a season.  In 2011 the Reds faced all non division league opponents 6 times except for the Mets (7), the World Champion Giants (7), and the Rockies (7).  Worse they faced the team with the best record in 2010 and 2011, the Phillies, 8 times.  In fact, the Reds have played the Phillies 15 times in the past two season winning just 3 games.
  3. The Reds will face inter league opponents 30 games.  In 2011 they played 18 inter league games.  In my mind this is the most compelling argument against the realignment because I dislike inter league play intensely for dispelling some of the mystique of the World Series.

So my inter league complaints aside, whats not to like about the changes.  Balance brings symmetry and fairness to the game.  The plan is to add another Wild Card team to both leagues so fully one third of the teams in baseball will reach the post season.  Seems a bit much but money talks and this deal is all about the money lest anyone become confused.

But what about Houston?  MLB had current Astros owner Drayton McLane over a barrel and insisted new owner buy in to the plan in order to be permitted to complete the purchase of the Houston club.  A $75 million dollar discount makes the complaints he might have melt away.  But the Astros still have a few challenges ahead in order to allow them to compete with the Junior Circuit.  Most importantly they need a designated hitter so I thought now would be an appropriate time to suggest a trade to take advantage of the Astros need as our way of sending them off in style.

I suggest that the Reds trade Yonder Alonso to the Astros to be their DH of the future.  He is a gifted hitter and they will find immediate use for his skills in the AL West.  The Astros are talent laden following the trades of Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn and a talent with Alonso’s ability should not come cheap.  I would ask for reliever Wesley Wright, and prospects Jarred Cosart and, since his dad manages the Dragons, Delino DeShields Jr..  I know this is far more than value than is warranted but I do believe Alonso could be an extremely valuable commodity to a team that will need production from the DH.