July 7, 2012

MLB Playing Field. Is Everyone Getting Better/Worse?

I know some people will look at the title of this article and yell that the Yankees or Rangers are the greatest thing ever since Jeans were made. Yes, there are some teams that are just better than everyone else and are on the on top of their division but, most teams have improved and there are some division where all the teams are above .500.

As of July 6th, the whole AL East is above .500 or at .500. We are basically at the half way point of the season and the whole division is above .500? That is saying something about the talent level in that division and how it is now spread between most teams and not just a select few.

The Royals, who are still under .500, have become a better team each and every year. Why? It is called scouting and their farm system. The Royals are finally becoming a good team with fantastic young talent with Moustakas, Hosmer, and Myers (still in minors).

Also, the addition of the second wild card team levels the playing field. I know you are asking, Daniel, how does adding a team to the playoffs level the playing field? With that addition of the new team, many teams feel like they are now in the race. With that said, instead of dealing players away, teams would rather go out and buy players. With those trades, those teams out of contention then get prospects. These prospects are a chance but, if they pan out, it was well worth the trade. A historic one-sided trade with these implications was made with the Red Sox and Mariners in 1997.  The Red Sox dealt reliever Heathcliff Slocumb to the Mariners for Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe. The Mariners got what they wanted at the time but, Slocumb then only pitched 96 innings during the '97 season and the years after. What did the Red Sox get? The Red Sox got over 5,000 at bats with Jason Varitek and over 1,000 innings pitched out of Derek Lowe.

Recently, there was a trade made which explains exactly what I am talking about. Carlos Lee of the Houston Astros got traded to the Miami Marlins who are 4 games back of the second wild card seed. The Astros, in return, received two good prospects. Those prospects were Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen. Dominguez was the #2 rated prospect and Rob Rasmussen was the #9 rated prospect in the Marlins farm system, according to MLB.com. The Marlins traded these two prospects because they needed a "now" guy. I do not have a crystal ball and cannot tell you that those two guys will pan out and the deal will then be one-sided but, there is a possibility.

If the MLB playing field is level and most teams are competing in their division and the wild card races, then baseball becomes exciting again. Now, we will not have another end to the season like we did in 2011 for a while but, more teams will be in the races and more fans will want to go out to games.

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