Patrick: Welcome to Bleacher Bums. I’m Patrick.
Derrik: And I’m Derrik.
Patrick: Alright D, what are some things you would do if you were Commissioner for a day? And I mean just 24 hours before Manfred gets the job back. It’s like when the President has to get a colonoscopy and the Vice President is lowkey the President for like three hours.
Derrik: So I can’t say Manfred is banned from MLB?
Patrick: I like what you’re thinking.
Derrik: Manfred has not been a great Commissioner, but I don’t think he’s been terrible. However, we could use a new face to punch. Theo Epstein could be my successor. He’s already working for Manfred. Pat, would you get rid of Manfred or are we saying that’s against the rules?
Patrick: I like it. I nominate Roger Goodell. He’s squeaky clean, right? Anyway, what’s your first real move as Commissioner?
Derrik: My first move is to fix the CBA. Get some ideas flowing on the structure of the luxury tax, and whether or not there should be some sort of hard cap. There could be exceptions to the hard cap, like the NBA has with the mid level exception and the bird rights. I’d also suggest a cap on salaries, which the NHL has. The NHL has a rule where a player can’t make more than 20% of the salary cap, which this year would be around $16 million. No one comes close to that, but in MLB, 20% of the $230 million is $46 million. Only Max Scherzer is close to that, but I like the idea of it.
Patrick: I feel similarly that there are issues with payrolls. I don’t think there should be any really hard maximums, I like that MLB payrolls are limitless. The Steve Cohens of the world make me happy. I just wish that there was a payroll floor – or minimum. There shouldn’t be players making more than an entire team.
Derrik: If we go by the 20% rule maximum salary for players, there could be a 25% minimum for teams. That would be a minimum team payroll of $57.5 million would be put in place. I like the sound of that. I think they could put in a hard cap, but that would be above the luxury tax. The luxury tax thresholds are $230 million, $250 million, $270 million, and $290 million. They could set a hard cap at $310 million. I think that would be fair.
Patrick: Not too controversial, I don’t think. So I’ll stick with something else not controversial: I’m banning the shift.
Derrik: I don’t necessarily like the term “banning the shift”. MLB isn’t really going to ban it, just limit it. I’m on board for limiting the shift. Just because you need two infielders on both sides of second base doesn’t mean they can’t basically put someone behind second. It would just be a step to the left or right.
Patrick: And one foot on the dirt.
Derrik: That too. I wonder if teams will still be able to use five infielders. That doesn’t seem to break any rules. Also, what about the four outfielder shift the Blue Jays have used a lot this year?
Patrick: Hate it. No more right-fielders and shallow-right-fielders.
Derrik: The Blue Jays shift though is different. They play a left fielder, left-center fielder, a right-center fielder, and a right fielder. I don’t think that will be allowed, but that’s different than the right fielder and shallow-right fielder shift you are mentioning. I think the team should be able to use four outfielders, but they have to actually be in the outfield like how the Blue Jays do it, and not just in shallow right field. Similar to the five infielders thing. I think that should be allowed, but all five guys have to be on the dirt and only two infielders on each side with the fifth infielder playing up the middle. A team would have to designate what they want to do to the umpire though. I think if there’s some sort of system it could work, but I’m definitely against the 3 ½ infielders, 3 ½ outfielders shift that we are all used to seeing.
Patrick: It’s all bad and annoying. What’s next on your list?
Derrik: Let’s move onto something that may be controversial: since all teams are going to be playing each other more, and each team will now play every other team every year, there will be less in-division games for each team. So, either just remove divisions entirely, or go to 2 divisions in each league. What’s the point of a division when you are only going to play each other 3-4 times a year?
Patrick: I totally get what you’re going for, but I guess I would just keep them for historical sentimentality. It means something to me as a baseball fan that the Yanks and Sox or Dodgers and Giants are in the same division, in a way that it just doesn’t when Miami and Buffalo are in the AFC East together.
Derrik: I get what you’re saying, but the argument for two divisions has historical sentimentality on its side, as well as the point of playing your division opponents less. No division is definitely radical, but the NBA got rid of their divisions after having two teams with the best two records in the league being forced to be the 1 seed and 4 seed respectively because the division winners were guaranteed the 1-3 seeds. If the third division winner in both the AL and NL both have to play in the wild card round, why not just have two divisions with four wild cards instead of three divisions with three wild cards. My penultimate idea for my day as Commissioner would be that MLB should have expansion and realign some of the divisions. For example, the AL West has two teams in that division that are in Texas, which is clearly not on the west coast. If the league goes to 32 teams, put a team in Vegas and put the other team in either Vancouver, Portland, Salt Lake City, or even add another California team and throw it in Sacramento. Then put those two teams in the AL West, move the Rangers to the AL Central, and send the Astros back to the NL and put them back in the NL Central. How’s that for some changes?
Patrick: Wow. That’s a lot to take in. Doesn’t the Las Vegas AAA team average better attendance than their parent franchise, the A’s? Maybe we can get the As out of Oakland and finally out of their misery.
Derrik: I actually think the A’s should stay in Oakland, but they need a new ballpark ASAP – there’s no doubt that they need a new one. If they can’t get a new stadium, then they will most likely relocate. I do think there should be five west coast teams in each league. The NL has five, but the AL only has three. I don’t like seeing two Texas teams in the West division. It’s like the Memphis Grizzlies being in the Western Conference of the NBA. It just rubs me the wrong way.
Patrick: Everything you are saying makes perfect sense, but I disagree. OVERRIDDEN. Are you ready for my super controversial move?
Derrik: I don’t know if I’m ready for it but I’m alright for hearing it.
Patrick: I’m reinstating Pete Rose for all MLB activities. I know, I know, he gambled on the game. But guess what – WE ALL CAN NOW. If the Washington Nationals can have an MGM Sportsbook ten feet from their center field gate, we can no longer bitch about gambling in the sport.
Derrik: I say we just throw him on the Hall Of Fame ballot. If they don’t vote him in in 10 years the other committee is about as fraudulent as you can get with Hall Of Fame voting, so he’ll easily get in there.
Patrick: I’m also putting him in myself. I don’t care if that’s not how it works, I’m the Commissioner. What’s your last idea? Please tell me it’s relocating the Houston Astros to the moon.
Derrik: My last thing isn’t relocating the Astros, unfortunately. My last move would be to make the Savannah Bananas the honorary 31st team of the league, and every team has to play them home and away every season. Let’s make the game more fun. Who says no to this? Unless you’re the Grinch and you hate fun.
Patrick: I’m a middle school teacher – I do hate fun. And I don’t get the Savannah Bananas thing. You can read some of my thoughts on them here. Maybe I should go to one of their games and they’ll change my mind. Until then, I’m Patrick…
Derrik: And I’m Derrik.
Patrick: And we’re a couple of Bleacher Bums.