The Competitive Landscape in the NL is Shifting East and Other Bullets

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The Competitive Landscape in the NL is Shifting East and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

My stomach is angry at me this morning. What did I do to you? Was it the extra candy bar(s, plural) last night? Was it the larger-than-usual combo at Raisin’ Cane’s? Was it because you think I forgot our anniversary? What do you think the candy bars were for?

Powering through …

  • Watching the NL East try to one-up each other in every transaction of late has me thinking about the competitive landscape in the National League. There have been 14 NL Wild Cards in the two-team Wild Card Era (since 2012). Half of them have come from the NL Central (woot), and five came from the NL West. Just twice (ATL in ’12, NYM in ’16) has an NL East team made the WC Game. They are clearly fixin’ to change that in 2019.
  • … though obviously your best path to a Wild Card appearance is being in a division with more rebuilding teams, not fewer, thanks to the unbalanced schedule that has you playing your divisional opponents 19 times each. Sure, you’re still probably going to have to play to a winning record outside of your own division anyway, but if your division has four very competitive teams, you might just wind up beating each other up and make a Wild Card (or at least a multiple Wild Card situation) less likely.
  • Right now, you could only say for sure that the Diamondbacks and the Marlins are aiming to be non-competitive in 2019. The Reds are probably going to be non-competitive, but they are at least signaling that they want to add this offseason. The Giants are a bit of an unknown right now, but it’s looking like they may go into a down period. If that happens, and if the Padres don’t finally surprise, it could be a very nice situation for the Dodgers and Rockies, disproportionately so when compared to the four contenders in the East and the three(?) or four(?) contenders in the Central.
  • As the hoped-for madness of the Winter Meetings approaches, I am reminded of my favorite such stretch:

  • Every year we remember the anniversary of Ron Santo’s passing, and then a couple days later the anniversary of his induction into the Hall of Fame – which came more than a year too late:

  • Farewell to Vine Line:

  • Congrats to the Smokies:

  • I laughed:

  • Yeah, this is pretty impressive:

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.