With the 2020 season still on hold, one potential solution could offer the Toronto Blue Jays an advantage if MLB has to change the format of the divisions.
It has been well documented how tough it is to make it out of the AL East but imagine if the Toronto Blue Jays didn’t have to deal with that this season.
Well, a report earlier this week by Bob Nightengale of USA Today suggests that MLB is considering a proposal to eliminate the traditional American and National Leagues. If that were to happen, teams would play in their spring training divisions as a way to play games at their facilities in Florida or Arizona.
In this scenario, the Blue Jays would play in a division with the New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers and the Pittsburgh Pirates. While the possibility of playing games without fans is not an ideal situation, it is something that might be unavoidable at some point.
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MLB shouldn’t be in a rush to get back on the field but there is a point where the league has to consider solutions to get the regular season underway when you consider that teams will need an abbreviated spring training.
With that being said, the biggest positive out of all of this is getting out of the AL East if you are the Blue Jays. There aren’t many divisions that offer a tougher road to the post-season and moving Toronto out of that would be a major benefit.
In this new potential format, the Yankees were the only playoff team and you could argue that New York and the Phillies would be the toughest challenge for the Blue Jays. Right not the Blue Jays are nowhere close to being the World Series picture but you could argue that they might be a wild-card contender depending on how the season is impacted.
Something that has to be considered is if there will be a full schedule played because that will also impact how teams plan for the post-season. We have already seen pitchers elect to get Tommy John surgery because of the uncertainty of a full season being played.
Even Bo Bichette told Sportsnet recently that he and other members of the team believe they have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs.
"“I had multiple teammates come up to me and say like, ‘Man, this sucks, I really think we had a chance to compete,’ and so when you’ve got a full team of people thinking we have a chance to make the playoffs that’s something special, and I truly believed it too. … Whatever season we do get we’re gonna do our best and hopefully make some waves and prove some people wrong.”"
It will make a major difference to have their best lineup possible at the start of the season rather than bringing them along later in the year. What it will likely come down to is whether the team has the pitching to get them into contention.
Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said that the team’s pitching staff remains a vital component the team is trying to improve all the time and you could say that every MLB club is trying to do that. One wild card could be Nate Pearson who might be impacted the most by the delay of the season by the COVID-19 pandemic.
You could make the case that the Blue Jays might have a scenario where Pearson pitches late in the season to provide them an extra boost but without a minor league season being played, it’s tough to say how that decision is impacted.
Regardless, whether the divisions changed or not, there was a lot to be excited about this season and hopefully, the situation improves to the point where we see some live baseball. Don’t get me wrong as good as it is to watch great moments from the Blue Jays past, nothing beats being able to go to a live game.
What do you think about a potential realignment of the MLB divisions? Do the Blue Jays have a chance to make the playoffs this season? Let us know in the comments below.