41’s Inside Pitch: What would realignment look like for the Colorado Rockies?


In three decades of existence, the Colorado Rockies have never won the National League’s Western Division.

And they never will.

That’s due to a couple of important factors. First, the Los Angeles Dodgers own the division, and the gap between LA and the Rockies is as wide as the Grand Canyon at the moment. There’s also the presence of the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres too. (And most observers think that the Arizona Diamondbacks are better than the Rockies at the moment.)

So there’s that.

The other reason is because they aren’t likely to spend the rest of their existence mired in the NL West. Expansion is on the horizon for Major League Baseball, and with that will come divisional realignment.

Right now it’s anyone’s guess what that will look like, but if, as expected, Nashville and Las Vegas become the two newbies in MLB, you can expect some shuffling of teams between the National and American Leagues. This has happened before in recent history. Milwaukee moved from the AL to the NL in 1998, and Houston went the other direction, NL to AL, in 2013. It would likely happen again – with more than two teams – if MLB went to 32 teams with eight four-team divisions just like the NFL.

With Vegas joining the already crowded west coast field, there will be seven teams in the Pacific time zone, not counting Phoenix, which is closer to the coast than Denver is. So you could easily make two four-team western divisions out of those eight clubs.

The Rockies could conceivably be placed in a more “midwestern” type of division. The Mountain Time zone has just the one team, but the Midwest has seven more teams – a pair in Chicago, Minnesota, Kansas City, Texas, Houston and St. Louis. Those eight could make up two more four-team divisions, and we’d be halfway home. We can let the east coast baseball snobs figure out where the other 16 teams will land…

It would be a welcome relief for the Rockies to be in a geographically friendly “Midwest” division with KC, Minnesota, and one Chicago team (with Texas, Houston, St. Louis and Chicago in the other.) Sounds pretty good.

That’s a division they could eventually win – at least once.

There’ve been several realignment scenarios put out there already, including one that has the Rockies in a “Pacific” division. There’s absolutely no logic in that whatsoever. The goal of the MLB owners would clearly be to cut back on travel where possible, and sending the Rockies out to the west coast instead of the Midwest makes zero sense.

Of course they could be left in another difficult spot if they were put in the same division with the always good St. Louis Cardinals or the current juggernaut Astros. Nevertheless, it’d be better than where they are right now.

We know that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Rockies owner Dick Monfort, whom he put in charge of the owners side of the last collective bargaining agreement. Something should tell us that Manfred would not let Monfort’s club be forever stuck in another never-win situation.

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