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Bluebird Links - Realignment Talk

The 5th Starter takes a look at a potential baseball realignment here. Realignment talk - always a popular subject with baseball fans. Here's the gist of the 5th Starters proposal:

Split the leagues in to two tiers. Take the 10 teams in the east (Exclude Tampa if they can't spend with the big boys. Florida too, once their prospects sign elsewhere) add 6 additional spots for teams in other divisions who are competitive. StL comes to mind, LAA and LAD fit as well. Texas, Colorado and San Francisco make the most sense to fill out the remainder. If FLA/TB can't cut it, Detroit, the White Sox and Cubs would make terrific substitutes. There would be 4 divisions: 2 NL, 2 AL, with 4 teams each.

I personally would love to see some sort of realignment, but I don't think this is the way to go. Would the teams that jump up into the 'premier' division be able to compete with the bigger teams? What incentive would big name free agents have to sign with a lower tier team? Those teams become training teams for the young stars of the league. Put in your 6 years with a low tier team, become a free agent, and sign with a 'premier' team. And really, could you imagine the Yankees having a bad year and being relegated to the lower tier? That right there would put an end to the two tier system.

But surely, there is a better division alignment than what we have now. And I don't think simply adding two more playoff teams is the answer. I would love to see either expansion to 32 teams, and even out the divisions. From there, you can go one of two ways. Either go back to a four division (or even two division) system with balanced scheduling, or go to an eight division system. I don't know what the answer is, and no matter what, at least one faction of baseball fans would be enraged (the purists, the 'forward thinkers' or the folks that are happy with it as is). What are your realignment thoughts Bluebird Banterer's?

Jays Links

Jays 2011 Draft Pick Order Update | Jays Journal | A Toronto Blue Jays Blog
Mat Germain takes an early look at the Blue Jays 2011 draft order. Looks good, however not quite as good as last year.

Two Interesting Relievers With New Homes - Beyond the Box Score
Beyond the Box Score looks at Villanueva's pitch selection and career numbers.

Ten Questions with Kyle Drabek | News |
Nice little interview with Drabek here.

The Hot Stone League | Remembering Dave Stieb's 11-year contract while Cliff Lee haggles | Seattle Times Newspaper
A look back at Steib's 11 year contract, signed in 1985. Very interesting reading.

The Tao of Stieb: If Patience is a Virtue....
The Ack is happy that the Jays aren't considering a Snider and Drabek package for Geinke.

Blue Jays baseball blog
Griffin writes about Tom Cheek and Dave Van Horne. Also, his mailbag is at the bottom.

Around the League

Angels Sign Downs | FanGraphs Baseball
R.J. Anderson breaks down the Downs signing, and thinks the Angels will get their value from him.

The Vancouver Asahi " Mop Up Duty | Baseball News Sabermetric | Baseball History Bio
A really interesting article, summarizing the Vancouver Asahi, a team that won 5 consecutive Pacific Northwest Cahmpionships in the 1930's before being disbanded.

Cardinals fear losing Pujols - MLB - Baseball - Rumors - FanNation
No kidding. How could you not fear losing this guy coming into a contract year? Since 2001, he is the best player in baseball, hands down. Career: .331AVG/.426OBP/.624SLG. A.434 WOBA, plus fielder, 80.6 fWAR. How would he look as your 2012 Blue Jays firstbaseman?

Derek Jeter's contract: A breakdown
Davidoff breaks down Jeters contract. I love the structure of the 2014 year of this contract.

Votto landslide winner of 2010 Tip O’Neill Award " Cooperstowners in Canada
Some Canadian content - no surprise here.

Leaderboards Feature: Multiple Seasons | FanGraphs Baseball
FanGraphs added leaderboard splits earlier in the week, and now they've added multiple season leaderboards. Fantastic.