The MLB is looking for options to safely get the 2020 regular season underway. One of the proposals is to have all teams move to Arizona and play all games within the Cactus League stadiums. If this proposal happens all the divisions would be realigned and teams would be in the division with the closest Spring Training teams to them. That means the Phillies would be placed with the Yankees, Pirates, Tigers and Blue Jays.
Lets take a look at what each teams outlook and biggest X-factor players are if this wild proposal becomes baseball’s reality.
The Yankees are among baseball’s elite. Overall, they have one of the best lineups in the majors along with great starting pitching after signing AL Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole to a 7-year $329 million contract this offseason.
For New York, the goal going into the 2020 season before this delay was to win the World Series, they have all the pieces in place and a lot of guaranteed money tied up in veterans. Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Staton and Gary Sanchez highlight their elite offense that expects to carry them to the postseason regardless of how the 2020 season may look.
The Pirates are one of the worst constructed teams in baseball. They have been rebuilding for a few seasons now and do not have much young talent to show for it.
The Phillies should be able to take care of the Pirates very easily considering the Pirates goal is to most likely get a low draft pick. The Pirates have a some fire power on offense that the Phillies staff can’t take lightly. Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Josh Bell and Brian Reynolds are all solid bats that could give a very mediocre Phillies staff a hard time.
The Tigers are in a similar situation as the Pirates, they are also in a rebuilding stage heading into 2020. The Tigers failed to win 50 games in 2019 as they finished with a lousy 47-114 record.
The Tigers do not have a lot of star talent on their current roster so this would really increase the Phillies chances at the postseason if they could beat up on the Pirates and Tigers. Some star talent on the Tigers is left handed pitcher Mathew Boyd, who was on the Phillies radar last trade deadline, and future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera who is clearly on a downward trend.
The Phillies should not have too many problems handling the Tigers.
The Blue Jays are the wildcard of this group. Last year, many of their young talents made their Major League debut and their retooling might finally be over. They still are probably a year or two away from being ready to contend for a championship, but they should be a very exciting watch in 2020 once the season gets under way.
Their young talent is highlighted by 3B/OF Vladimir Guerrero Jr. who is one of the biggest young talents in the game. They also have Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette, which gives them some of the best young talent in baseball. If these divisions became realities I could see the Blue Jays giving the Phillies a hard time with their young offensive power.
If this were to happen, I feel pretty confident in a playoff berth for the Phillies as at least a wildcard team. It would be a two team race with the Yankees who I don’t think will be as good if they have to play on a neutral ground with no fans. Playing in Yankee Stadium gives them an edge of intimidation to their opponents.
It is unclear what path Major League baseball is going to take but it would be pretty fun slugging it out with the Yankees to try and reach the postseason.