MLB shakeup could see restructured divisions, universal DH

MLB Base

If and when baseball begins, it could look a whole lot different. We heard last week that MLB was potentially eyeing a regular season that would be played entirely in Arizona, but those plans have apparently evolved into something a lot more drastic.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, MLB is considering playing out the regular season at their spring training sites in Arizona and Florida. In one proposal, the league could completely eliminate the traditional American League and National League. Instead, they’d realign into six divisions that are based on teams’ spring training locations. Nightengale even provided a glimpse of what this restructured league could look like:

Grapefruit League (Florida)

  • North: Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays
  • South: Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays
  • East: Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals

Cactus League (Arizona)

  • Northeast: Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants
  • West: Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Northwest: Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers

As Nightengale notes, there are 26 ballparks that could be used among the 30 teams, including three MLB stadiums.

There would be some additional, significant changes. Specifically, MLB would likely implement a universal DH, and there could be changes to the postseason (including the potential addition of two wild cards per league or a tournament featuring all 30 teams). Most likely, the winner of the Grapefruit League would face the winner of the Cactus League in the World Series, which would likely be held at one of Florida’s domed stadiums in November.

Once the league is given the go-ahead to begin play, there will likely be three weeks of spring training. Regular season games could air throughout the day.

With the ongoing pandemic, the league is looking to reduce travel. As Nightengale notes, this would be especially relevant for teams in Arizona, as all of the stadiums are within an hour of each other. Florida’s stadiums are more spread out, meaning the league would have to overcome logistical issues in quarantining players, officials, and staff.

These changes would naturally have a drastic impact on the world of betting. Teams that theoretically didn’t have a shot in a top-heavy division could find themselves a contender against inferior opponents. Plus, with increased playoff teams, it only improves the chances of a non-favorite winning the World Series.

We already heard that MLB was planning on making some major (and, potentially, unnecessary) changes to the draft, so this shakeup seems on-brand. Regardless, we don’t care if they’re playing with wiffle balls and plastic bats…we’ll happily take any organized sport at this point.

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