There are currently two teams that are in dire straights when it comes to finances, that being the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers and I am sure that we will see more teams approaching that line in the coming years. As always there is talk that baseball needs expansion and two teams should be added. However, I would suggest that baseball should consider contraction and get rid of two teams as a way to avoid another team having to go through bankruptcy.
I never see this happening because MLB is looking to expand baseball into other countries which is why they had the Expos play some of their home games in Puerto Rico before they were moved to our nation’s capital. We are years away from that but maybe not as far as I may think so why not try out contraction until it is determined that there is a market in other countries. So why not try contraction for the time being? It will allow the talent pool to thicken up which has become seriously muddied since the Tampa Bay Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks came into the league. There are just too many players in the Bigs who shouldn’t be there.
If this were ever to be explored I have a few suggestions for teams that could be contracted. The first has to be the Rays due to attendance concerns and the fact that they cannot get the funding for a new stadium. It would be a shame for that team to get contracted because they have the right guys making baseball moves after such a horrible start. To counteract this I would suggest that the Rays and Miami Marlins be combined into one entity. The Marlins just got their new stadium so the team would have a place to play and if you combined those two fan bases you might have enough to keep them competitive every year instead of having those fire sales that the Marlins are famous for.
The next candidate is the Oakland A’s, they are running into the same stadium issues that the Rays are. They are also a smaller market team and have proven that they cannot keep up with the salary demands of the more talented free agents. The Pittsburgh Pirates are in the same boat but the one draw back is that they are such a storied franchise that it would pain baseball to get rid of them. The Houston Astros are also an option in my mind because their fan base has never been very strong but with them just being sold it won’t happen. Maybe even the Mets could be contracted since the team is heading for bankruptcy and will ultimately be sold and they have become the laughingstock of the National League due to other incidents. The last team that I think is a good candidate is the Seattle Mariners, I’ve never thought it was a good franchise and they can’t afford to keep the players that they’ve wanted to which can be seen by Grffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson being let go.
These are the teams that I think could be contracted and there is one common thing between them all, they are smaller market teams besides the Mets. Baseball would not be missed in Tampa and hardly missed in Oakland or Seattle. So why isn’t this being considered? Looking into this is a viable option and it could possibly open the door to having a team in Puerto Rico or Mexico. It might even solve some of the financial problems that smaller market teams are having because there would be fewer teams to fight with over top free agents but more importantly raise the competitive balance across the entire league. Why not give it a try?