One Move Every MLB Team Should Make (But Won’t)

The best off-season plan for every baseball team.

A little over a week ago, I put my stakes in the ground about who was gonna sign where (already got one terribly wrong!), which while not necessarily an exhaustive scientific endeavor, was at least based partially on research and stats and facts. Not this time, this is the Vibes Based Economy, folks. FAs are FAs, but moves? Moves are whatever you want them to be.

 

Arizona Diamondbacks – Make Your Mascot Less Realistic

Ok so the FA article kicked off with a hot D-Backs take, and this one is kicking off with an incredibly personal issue but: D. Baxter the Bobcat cannot be allowed to continue as he is. Have you ever seen that mascot up close? It’s just a dude in a big suit, and they don’t try to hide that in any way.

Except for his mouth.

D. Baxter’s mouth is like, anatomically correct down to every detail. There are no easily found photos of this online because anybody who has tried to document the horror is immediately driven mad, Lovecraft-style. I once went to a Diamondbacks game with a co-worker who knows nothing about baseball and one of his biggest takeaways was “Why did the mascot look like that?” As far as the on-field product goes, Arizona isn’t too far away from at least being enjoyable, but you can’t have that cosmic horror stalking the stands ready to open his fake doll mouth and break some unsuspecting fan’s mind.

 

Atlanta – Kill The Chop

Sorry to be a downer here but c’mon. The team has been kind of tiptoeing around the issue for years now and yet still, every season they play the drums and the whole stadium engages in some good wholesome group racism in the name of intimidating the other team? They can’t physically stop people from doing it but they can stop playing the music cue and naming stuff after it and using it as their hashtag and all that. Cleveland renamed the team and while there was plenty of gnashing of teeth and faux outrage, look at them now! It’s doable! And you should do it!

 

Baltimore Orioles – C H A O S B A L L

Seattle may have run with #EmbraceChaos for a little bit of the season, but Baltimore was raised in the chaos, molded by it…

The O’s finished in 4th place this season, but they were above .500 and were only a few games away from a WC spot. Chaosball is always some of the best ball to witness and I fully approve of Baltimore making it an inextricable part of their team DNA.

 

Boston Red Sox – Make Fenway Weirder

Yes, this is similar to my prescription to Miami, but I want Boston specifically to embrace the weirdness of Fenway’s existing layout. Instead of just a little triangle in CF, make it a labyrinth that runs all the way across I-90. Move the Pesky Pole all the way up to first base. Double the height of the Green Monster. In an era of increasingly boring and plain field design, Fenway is one of the Last Of The Weirdos, and I appreciate and respect it. We need some kind of incredibly eccentric maniac to buy an expansion team and insist they play in a 1:1 replica of the Polo Grounds. Oh you want balls in play? Here’s a 483′ center field, that enough balls in play for ya?

Ok, we’re only in the Bs and I worry I’ve already lost the plot here…

 

Chicago White Sox – Let The Fans Manage

This isn’t even something new that the White Sox would have to work on implementing, as it already happened once in August:

But why should the fans right behind the plate be the only ones to help? I’m sure people up in the grandstands have their own good ideas about how to run their team. Every possible choice in the game should be put to a fan vote, with the results shown in real-time on the jumbotron. Yes, this may have an adverse effect on the pace of play but I think it’ll be worth it to see The Wisdom Of The Crowd make a split-second choice on sending the runner for an extra base.

 

Chicago Cubs – Keep The Speed Off The Bump

In a game where pitchers are throwing harder and harder every year, the Cubs have found the newest market inefficiency for starting pitchers: being slow. Their average FB velo in 2022 was dead last in baseball, with their starters averaging under 92 MPH. Even with that, they threw to a sub-4.00 ERA as a staff, with only Kyle Hendricks coming in with an ERA+ under 100. There may be some longevity dividends to be paid down the road by throwing with less velo, but it also just seems like a nice change of pace, pun fully intended. We all loved watching Zack Greinke flummox batters with a changeup faster than his four-seamer, and now we have the potential for a whole staff of those guys? I’m into it.

 

Cincinnati Reds – Unleash The Redlegs

We all know you’re keeping their, especially Mr. Redlegs’, true powers dampened. We don’t know how, but you are. Look at him!

 

I cannot emphasize enough that this is the real, official mascot of a Major League Baseball team in the year 2022. You’re trying to tell me he can’t shoot laser beams out of his eyeballs? That he doesn’t have the ability to unnerve any opposing player into striking out every time they’re at the plate and simply curling up in a sobbing ball in the field?! Remove the psychic limiter from his collar, unleash the greatest competitive advantage the sport has ever known, and reap the benefits.

 

 

Cleveland Guardians – Become The Doughnut

This is one of my favorite baseball terms ever since I first read it back in 2015:

Pretty much, you either want to bloop it or blast it, anything else is an out. And boy are the Guardians good at bloopin’ it. They were dead last in Barrels/PA% and HardHit%, and tied for last place in average exit velo. We got to see it on full display in the ALDS when they would drop the ball 20 feet behind third base and watch the Yankees do a ridiculous Benny Hill impression trying to come up with the thing, including injuring each other grievously! Anyway, while watching this occur multiple times a game for a week straight I kept insisting that they couldn’t possibly be training for this type of thing, right? But you know, what if they are? What if this is an intentional part of their entire offensive philosophy?

You know what, I respect it. I hope that Cleveland takes their “Never striking out” approach to offense and turns their Three True Outcomes into Walks, Bloops, and Blasts. Well, ideally I wouldn’t have to watch them wield it against the Yankees again, but in principle, I’m all for it.

 

Colorado Rockies – Get Help

Listen, unlike some other cellar-dwelling teams on this list, the Rockies can be at least entertaining. They play in Denver, ball goes far, fun times. We all loved both dingers and Dinger The Baseball Dinosaur, right? But when it comes to actually running the baseball team, hoo boy. Colorado has never met an aging FA they didn’t want to sign specifically to block a young, exciting prospect. You can set your watch by it at this point, and personally, I would prefer if they didn’t do that. You can’t hit homers even a mile up if your team can’t hit.

 

Detroit Tigers – Listen To Dave Fisher

Back in 2019, Dave Fisher wrote one of the greatest articles to ever grace these hallowed pages. He asked the question we were all too scared to: Should the Detroit Tigers Replace JaCoby Jones with an Actual Tiger? Well, the Tigers replaced JaCoby Jones with Akil Baddoo and Riley Greene, but Dave’s question still stands once you replace the names. Detroit went out and spent the winter of 2021 trying to take the AL Central and it has pretty spectacularly not worked in the early returns. But you know what would work? An actual tiger.

 

Houston Astros – Get Yordan To Put A Ball Into Orbit

I feel like he’s most of the way there already, given what we saw out of him in the World Series. They already have some of the country’s greatest astrophysical minds nearby at NASA to help make it happen. To be clear, this doesn’t necessarily need to happen off of a live pitcher during a game, as I would imagine the sonic boom would be uncomfortable for the fans in the building, but I’m also not not saying it needs to happen off of a pitcher who would then almost by law have to immediately retire.

 

Kansas City Royals – Hire Lorde

I was originally going to suggest KC nominate somebody on the 40-man to run for city council and turn the city government into an actual monarchy, but it turns out the team is named after a big rodeo and not the uh, institution of kings and queens and whatnot. So I’m pivoting, instead of them doing a thing they were ostensibly named after, it’s time to go out and do a thing based on something named after them. I guess, I honestly don’t know how much I buy Lorde’s story about a photo of George Brett being the inspiration for the smash hit track in question

But hey, it’s her story so I guess we might as well roll with it. KC fired Dayton Moore back in September, so they have an opening in their FO, and Lorde has already shown her interest in the history of the ball club. At the very least, she can coach 3B, although her sends may be a little aggressive…

 

Los Angeles Angels – Sign Every FA

I was going to say the Angels need to move Trout and Ohtani for their own good, but that’s defeatist. The Angels are always good for rumors of being in on big free agents and sometimes they do actually make a big splash like extending Mike Trout or signing Anthony Rendon, but they must go further. Their player development is generally sub-par, and they’re wasting the prime years of truly once-in-a-generation players like Trout and Shohei Ohtani: so they need to simply eliminate the margins for error and sign every FA available. They can’t have a hole at SS when they’re rostering Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, and Trea Turner. And that also means nobody else can have them! It’s all upside! At the very least, it would be an amazing thing to see them continue to lose after they do it.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers – Annex Anaheim

The Angels already like to pretend they’re actually in LA so it’s time the Dodgers take them up on it. Wait until they sign every FA like I suggested, then simply have LA expand to absorb their stadium and facilities, and bam, what’s theirs is yours. I’m definitely a lawyer and this is definitely how it works. Imagine a preseason where nobody is talking about Cody Bellinger’s swing because Mike Trout is in CF instead. Imagine Clayton Kershaw hanging out with Shohei Ohtani every day?! Imagine Xander and Carlos and Trea simply duct-taped together pretending to be one person over on the left side of the infield?! The Evil Big Market Teams gotta get more evil, folks, and simply eating a smaller team has to be on the table.

 

Miami Marlins – Bring Back The Dinger Machine

This has to be the least controversial item on this list. Derek Jeter oversaw its removal, and now he’s gone, so it should return to its pride of place out in the CF. And you know what? Miami should go one bigger and put it on the field of play. We need to return to the era of dangerously goofy on-field hazards in my opinion. More monuments in the fielders’ way, more hills in random spots, bring back flagpoles!

This is what they took from us, it’s time to right this wrong.

 

Milwaukee Brewers – Beer League Baseball

We talk about “ground rule doubles” pretty regularly even though usually we’re actually referring to an automatic double.

But we can fix that! There’s already a beloved Ground Rule stadium just down the coast from Milwaukee, in the ivy that lines Wrigley’s outfield, but the Brewers can one-up them and enhance their brand by adding a ground rule of their own, borrowed from the venerable tradition of Sloshball. Replace second base with a keg, and the runner may not advance past it without finishing his pint. There are a couple of different rule breakdowns here, where the runner has to chug as fast as they can to move on to third before any other runner reaches the base, or multiple runners can congregate at second, sipping at their leisure and moving onto third when able. Personally, I would take either one, as they both present their own wonderful twists and challenges on our beloved sport. You’ve heard of the “Coors hangover” effect, but get ready for the Miller uh, American Life hangover? Dang, is it too late to undo that name change?

 

Minnesota Twins – Become Literal

Build an exact copy of Target Field in St. Paul. Draft a whole other MLB team. They’re still just called the Twins. Never mention it, but act like it’s the most normal thing in the world. Bring back Taylor Rogers, sign Tyler Rogers. Have the giant twins in Minnesota playing on the Twins. All games start at the same time, and you never know which roster is going to show up at a road game, but it doesn’t matter because hey, they’re twins!

 

New York Yankees – Embrace The Dark Side

Like I said in the Dodgers blurb, it’s time for evil teams to be truly evil. Sure the Yankees should beat the Angels to the punch and sign every FA, but they should take even that one step further. I want naked tampering. I want every contract to somehow include a player option that would send them to the Yankees regardless of what team the contract was with originally. And cheating. Houston thinks they can cheat? New York’ll show them how a real organization can cheat. Hal Steinbrenner already sounds like an 80s movie villain, it’s time for the team to actually embody one. That’s right, they’re moving in and the lovable but rundown summer camp days are over. The team’s been somewhat famous for their moustaches on several occasions, it’s time to really let them twirl ’em!

 

New York Mets – More Horns

Yes, Jerry Seinfeld blames this specific live performance for cursing the Mets, but it is objectively pretty cool. There’s been a bit of controversy about who in baseball truly gets to claim ownership over Narco, but Timmy himself has granted Edwin DΓ­az his blessing, and I think there’s one way the Mets can really lock down those rights for the next five years: MORE TRUMPETS. Timmy needed a mic on his, but what if we simply multiplied the amount of brass by a factor of oh, say, around 42,000. That’s right, I’m suggesting that every fan at Citi Field be provided with a personal trumpet for use only when Edwin enters the field. Yes, this will require every Mets fan to learn at least a little bit of trumpet, but isn’t that still a net gain? It’s cultural enrichment for the people! Plus I would imagine that many thousands of trumpets would drown out the sound of jets at LGA entirely.

 

Oakland Athletics – Let The Fans Play

The A’s aren’t interested in putting a competitive team on the field, so they should drop the pretense and just let whoever shows up get out there and give it a shot. This would be endlessly entertaining, boost attendance, and also finally let all those people who think they could “luck into” a home run embarrass themselves in front of us all. But they gotta stay in Oakland.

 

Philadelphia Phillies – More Himbos

Dombrowski took his lovable team of bat-first lunks all the way to the World Series, and it’s time to push further. Trade for Luke Voit and simply remove the top half of the buttons from his jersey. Bring Matt Holliday out of retirement and do the same. Pick up Pete Alonso and Rowdy Tellez. It’s important to note that this is a different directive than I issue Toronto later in the article as we’re specifically looking for all-bat, no-glove players rather than a physical archetype here. I’m sure there are several other players who meet the Phillies’ criteria but this is one of those “I’ll know it when I see it” types of things. But I guarantee Dombrowski knows exactly what I’m talkin’ about here.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates – Sell The Team

Things are bad enough in Yinzburgh that they’ve moved beyond tanking to a new, worse form of losing that’s named after their current owner, Bob Nutting. That’s his real name Nick you can’t get mad at me for this. Nutting has “mastered” the art of the perpetual rebuild, and unlike even Colorado, they don’t pay for big-name free agents who will come mash majestic homers into the thin night air. Instead, you were gonna get 2023 Starting First Baseman Miguel AndΓΊjar (and that’s coming from an avowed Miggy fan!) until they traded for Ji-Man Choi who is still mostly there to help with the Fun Differential more than anything else. Respect the game, respect the fans, go do literally anything else with your time, Bob.

 

San Diego Padres – Steal Toronto’s Roster Gimmick

The Padres are colloquially known as the Dads. They need to make it literal. Sure, the Blue Jays have cornered the market on MLBer sons for the time being, but the nature of time being what it is, there’s always an opportunity for somebody else to simply start drafting every descendant of a prior player. Heck, Carsten Sabathia might be A Name To Look Out For sooner than any of us really want to think about. But they need to start now, Arizona already spotted this market inefficiency when they drafted Druw Jones in 2022. But 2023? That’s the Dads’ year.

 

San Francisco Giants – Find The Fountain Of Youth

It is, unfortunately, supposedly somewhere in Florida, but that shouldn’t stop them. All San Francisco needs is more years of amazing production from all of their 30+ year-old starters who are synonymous with the team at this point (and Evan Longoria.) Farhan Zaidi’s first move of this winter has to be trading for Cincinnati’s Daniel Poncedeleon, who can then lead the FO on an expedition deep into the Everglades to locate the fountain. With that trivial quest completed, it’s just a matter of coasting to more 107-win seasons for the foreseeable future. This baseball thing is easy.

 

Seattle Mariners – A 40-Dumper Roster

Everybody loves Big Dumper, the catcher with the big dumper who hits walkoff home runs to send the lovable Seattle underdogs into the Wild Card. And Seattle is in a unique position to take that love and apply it to their entire roster. Cal Raleigh is there to teach everybody the best way to build their glutes, and Robbie Ray is there to make sure their pants are ever-so-tight so as to properly show off the aforementioned dumpers. A team for Tina Belcher, but also just a team for all those folks who have ever watched a baseball game and gone “Well, I don’t get it but their butts look nice.” (c’mon, we all know one of them,) and a team for a sport where “hi butt” is still a legit scouting note.

 

St. Louis Cardinals – Expand Into Close-Up Magic

The Cardinals are widely known for their employment of Devil Magic year in and year out, as they’ve had a single losing season since 2000 and keep calling up unheralded prospects that immediately perform. But that shouldn’t be where the magic stops. Imagine trying to time up aΒ  pitcher while Paul Goldschmidt asks if the nine of clubs was the card you picked from the deck during BP (it was.) Or watching Nolan Arenado make an amazing play on a ball to third while doves fly out of his mitt on the throw over to first base. I guess a charitable reading of 2017s most obvious story in hindsight would be to chalk it up to a fun magic trick:

But it’s time for the Cards to put their magical abilities to better use than simply winning games.

 

Tampa Bay Rays – Spend Some Money

Do it, I bet you won’t. They made a huge deal about the contract they gave Blake Snell only to almost immediately turn around and trade him. They did sign Wander Franco to a long-term deal, but that’s pretty much it. They keep trading guys who become “too expensive in arbitration” which is an insane sentence for us to just accept about an MLB team. Yes, yes, their FO is very smart and they do all sorts of weird stuff that wins games at the expense of aesthetics, but imagine if they did all of that and signed the best available players from time to time? Imagine if they couldn’t just be the go-to excuse for every penny-pinching owner and ownership group to use to defend their low-spending team that also doesn’t actually win? That could be cool.

Also, change the name back to Devil Rays, that was a cool name.

 

Texas Rangers – Be More Texas

Houston’s got Space City, but Texas has…a very bland stadium? They’re not even known for a player wearing cowboy boots, for goodness’ sake! If everything’s bigger in Texas, why don’t the Rangers have bigger characters? Baseball love stirrup socks, but how about some spurs to go with them? Who says a baseball hat can’t have a brim that goes all the way around, and a little dimple thing at the top. And also be a cowboy hat? Pitchers have a ball holster and they have to do a quickdraw from there as part of their motion toward the plate. The name’s already a low-hanging reference, so let’s have some low-hanging stereotypical stuff happening on the field to go with it.

 

Toronto Blue Jays – Embrace The Beef

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.? Alejandro Kirk? What do these men have in common? They’re quite good at baseball, and also both beefy lads. I am a noted beefy lad appreciator, and I think the Jays need to join me in that club. Yes, this may limit their defensive upside, but imagine a lineup of Vladito, Kirk, Vogelbach, and Schwarber all together? Speed is overrated in H2H fantasy baseball, and what is real-life baseball but the ultimate in H2H?

 

Washington Nationals – Invent The Time Machine

This is distinct from San Francisco’s mission, as it requires the team to travel to specific points in time to undo choices. They need to go extend Bryce Harper, keep Stephen Strasburg healthy, can not trade Juan Soto, maybe don’t sign Patrick Corbin? Then they can relive the joy of the 2019 season forever, in a nice cozy little time loop. (Yes, I realize that 2019 happened after Bryce left, but it still seems cosmically wrong, somehow.) Luckily for them, DeLorean is back, so they have a clear opportunity to simply pick up a flux capacitor and they’re off to the races.

 

Oh, also every team that doesn’t already have a roof should be mandated to build a retractable rain-protection thing like Seattle has.

 

(Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire) Illustration by Cody Rogers (@CodyRogers10)

Asher Dratel

Asher hails from Brooklyn, wears a 2008 Joba Chamberlain jersey to every Yankees game he attends, and pronounces BABIP funny. Appreciator of Beefy Lad dingers and beers.

One response to “One Move Every MLB Team Should Make (But Won’t)”

  1. Nate Handy says:

    2022 was the first time the Rockies took last place in their division since 2015, yet they get referred to as “cellar dwellers” and the worst run organization in baseball. Seemingly every time you hear or read someone refer to the Rockies, it’s always accompanied with a Rockies joke that is often factually untrue or driven by common folklore that doesn’t stand up to reality. It’s common to make the joke they will sign a veteran to block an emerging player, but I ask you, name one player the Rockies “blocked” out of a job by signing an aging vet. Garrett Hampson? The same Garrett Hampson who just got his walking papers and is clearly not every day material?

    Over the last seven seasons, the Rockies are 19th in wins, which is more than CWS, LAA, ARZ, SD, Tex, Cin, Pit, Mia, KC, Det, Bal. That’s 3rd most in their division, not 5th.

    I don’t even think I’m a Rockies fan, and I definitely don’t have anything against you at all. I enjoyed your article very much. I’m just out here trying to spread some awareness that the Rockies jokes EVERYBODY throws out there are lame and plain wrong.

    Sure, they made a horrible trade, which cost the man who signed off on it his job, and 2022 was their worst season in awhile, but they are growing some help in their farm system and trying to do some things.

    My only ask of all the content creators out there, is to stop acting like this C- franchise is an D-/F franchise, like Det, KC, Mia, Pit, Cin. Please.

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