It’s Official: The Astros Are Moving to the AL West, and There Are Two Wild Cards

Late yesterday, Commissioner Bud Selig confirmed that Major League Baseball owners have unanimously approved the sale of the Houston Astros to businessman Jim Crane. That approval came conditioned on an agreement to move the Astros from the NL Central to the AL West, and it’s officially happening after the 2012 season.

Commensurate with the approval of the sale and the attached move, MLB owners approved the addition of a second Wild Card playoff team for each league. The two Wild Card teams will square off in a one-game playoff, before moving on to take on one of the three division winners. The move, which will help keep a few more teams “in the race” until a little later in the season, will also reward division winners, a stated goal of Selig.

Selig is hopeful that the additional Wild Card can be in place for the 2012 season, but cautioned that “logistical issues” could delay implementation until 2013, which is when the Astros will move to the AL, creating two 15-team leagues.

Speaking of which: yes, the move to two 15-team leagues will require yearlong interleague play. Most expect each team to play about 30 interleague games a year, up from about 18 at present. Each team in a division could theoretically play a nearly identical schedule, something the teams would like to see happen.

And, in case you were worried: Selig does not expect the expanded interleague play to lead to the implementation of the DH in the National League. That would take a “cataclysmic event,” he said.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

32 responses to “It’s Official: The Astros Are Moving to the AL West, and There Are Two Wild Cards”

  1. Bails17

    Brett…are you going to do a write up on how the new deal affects the draft and free agent compensation?

    1. Luke

      That probably will need to wait until we have the details. The draft and free agent compensation stuff is a little murky right now. No one is entirely sure what is going on, and those little details are likely to matter in a big way from what we are hearing so far.

  2. hansman1982

    “That would take a “cataclysmic event,” he said.”

    So, your retirement?

    It is coming, it is inevitable, embrace the dark side.

  3. Hcs

    Not to nitpick, but the quote that I came across said it would take a “catalyitic event”, not cataclysmic. Small detail, but it does change the gist of the statement a bit, and in fact catalyitic makes it sound more plausible, which is far scarier to me.

  4. Roland Perrelli

    The best thing about the manager being hired is hopefully we can start talking about player acquisition. It is my hope the first update is cubs have signed Fielder to a 6 yr deal. Then traded for Gio Gonzales and Mark Buehrle. Lastly, signed Cespedes to a 4yr deal. That would be a great start to the offseason.

  5. Edwin

    I’d rather the NL just go ahead and use the DH. It would make so many things much better.

    Look, I like tradition (Traditiooon!) as much as the next guy, but forcing the pitcher to bat doesn’t make the game better. Really, it doesn’t. Pitchers are horrible batters. Other than an occasional HR, the best possible outcome for a pitcher batting seems to be either a bunt, or a strikeout so that they don’t hit into a double play. MLB is baseball on it’s most competitive level. Pitchers make the ML because of their ability to pitch. why should we then have them bat, when they clearly suck at it? Watching pitchers bat is like watching Ronnie Cedeno bat. Just doing things for the sake of “tradition” doesn’t make sense.

    Having both leagues use the DH would let both leagues use similar strategies in constructing teams, it would let fans compare players better from both leagues, and most important, it would mean I don’t have to watch as many bad hitters. The Cubs have enough bad spots in their lineup already, I don’t need 1 more. I just don’t see how having the pitcher bat adds anything to the game.

    1. Fishin Phil

      I hate the DH!  However, we would finally have a position for Soriano.

      Nah, I still hate the DH.

      1. BetterNews

        Phil—I would never put up with a DH in the national league. I think the NL is special in that it puts all of its “players” to the plate. But who am I?

      2. Edwin

        Why do you hate it? Having the DH would allow better lineup construction for everyone. I just don’t see what the value of having pitcher’s bat is. If the only reason we don’t use the DH is “tradition”, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. We part ways with baseball tradition all the time. Lights get added to stadiums. Mounds get lowered. The idea of the DH has been around since 1906.

        1. BetterNews

          Nah! The NL is special in that all its players go to the plate. There is no cheating by allowing another person to bat for someone that can’t.

          1. hansman1982

            I agree with you in that I like the strategies behind having pitchers hit but the DH in the AL is NOT going away, I HATE that AL teams have the advantage when signing 30-31-32 year old guys when they can make them a DH at some point and its coming at some point so I have chosen to embrace the majesty of the DH.

            1. BetterNews

              Hansman—I know, I am just dreaming of a perfect world(LOL)

        2. Fishin Phil

          I like the way the manager has to work around the pitchers spot late in the game.  Makes for more interesting moves.  That, and I am an old codger. :)

          1. Katie

            Phil, I have soft spot for codgers and I also agree about the DH. Additionally, if you as a pitcher paid millions of dollars can’t lay down a GD bunt, you are a puss and should be thoroughly mocked.

            1. BetterNews

              Yes!

            2. hardtop

              word to this. matt garza needs to learn how to bunt.  if you are in the game you are a player.  babe ruth was a damned pitcher for at least part of his career, so dont tell me they inherently cant swing the stick.  none of this part time player stuff for me.  are you a baseball player or a pretty face?   dig in and earn your paycheck.  thats the way the game was invented and thats the way it should remain.  or call it different game, like wienie ball, or fatty ball.  but baseball is baseball and if you occupy a space on the field you better occupy that batters box.

              and it take the manager and strategy almost completely out of the game.  the extent of strategy in the al:

              “well he’s pushin 90 pitches and theres a lefty coming up, okay, lets get the lefty from the bullpen.”  who cant do that?  now that’s boring baseball (or rather fatty ball).  seeing a pitcher lay down a bunt is a lot more exciting than watching a roided shit house swing away while the AL manager eats fried chicken in the clubhouse with the pitchers.  another reason i like sveum, he knows how real (NL) baseball is played.

          2. hogie

            That’s what makes me a national league guy too. Baseball is a thinking man’s game, the DH takes too much strategy away. There isn’t near as much suspense for me in a an american league game.
            What’s the manager going to do now, if he pulls the pitcher with one out to go, do we have enough in the pen to finish the game? Pitcher’s spot is coming up, do we let this guy try and get the last out instead of burning up someone? Who’s going to hit for him?
            These are the things that makes baseball great, DH is a detraction. You want to see constant scoring, go watch the NBA…oh, wait…

            1. BetterNews

              Spoken like a true NL and Cub fan.

    2. Stockholm Cubs

      DH just doesn’t do it for me. For me, it’s like football where each and every player has a defined role. The beauty of baseball is versatility and letting players take part in both offense and defense.

      1. BetterNews

        Agreed! 100%

    3. NL_Cubs

      ‘F’ the DH! I hate it as it takes away from the finesse of strategy, show cases pitchers only on one side of the ball and is a shelter for players who are generally one-dimensional.

      The DH will likely not be going anywhere soon. It’s a huge chip for both the owners and players association. IF it must remain, keep it in the AL. I’d rather have “different rules” in the two leagues rather than see the DH introduced to the NL. ‘F’ the DH, just ‘F’ it!

  6. Stinky Pete

    Love the picture.  A member of a group schemes and connives his way to the leadership position and begins a decades long reign of terror.  Can somebody throw this guy down a well?

    With that said, I think even leagues is wonderful.  Makes everything better as long as they don’t f it up.  (They will.)  The schedule is so simple and perfect and even.

    1. BetterNews

      Isn’t that the way it works these days?(LOL)

  7. Papi

    No DH in the NL.  Something something something Dark-Side.

  8. MightyBear

    No DH. Baseball is the poorest run of all the major professional sports and that’s saying something. I could go back 40 years and baseball has made some of the worst decisions in sports history. Maybe the worst was allowing one league to have the DH and the other to not.

    1. poopypants mcgee

      you are right. That’s why it generates 7.5 billion dollars worth of revenue, agrees on their collective bargaining agreement before deadlines and actually play all of their games……

  9. Odd

    I haven’t heard this suggestion anywhere yet, but instead of playing interleague games year round…

    Why don’t they just give one team from each league a 3 day break while the other 14 teams play their series? Then rotate. So you have an even number of teams playing each other in the AL and NL, and one team will always be on a small 3 day break.

    Seems logical to me.