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Potential MLB Team In Portland Should Push Houston World Series Efforts

The Astros need to win championships with their current talent now before it possibly becomes more difficult later

November 30, 2018 - 6:06 pm
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By Derek Fogel (@FogelSaidWhat)

A big step towards a new team in Major League Baseball happened in Portland on Thursday. The Portland Diamond Project group announced that they have an agreement in principle for land suitable to build an MLB ballpark. League Commissioner Rob Manfred has said before that the A's and Rays are in need of new stadiums before an expansion team would come to fruition, however there is a possibility that Portland would be seen as a fallback option.

While many pieces still have to fall into place before any ground is broken, an additional team in Major League Baseball would bring consequences effecting some teams more than others. The leading issue for everyone would be an odd number of teams which requires one team to be idle at any point in the season waiting for an opponent. Baseball has weathered this before, and it would likely push the league to get to an even number and to its 32-team goal sooner than later.

With the most likely expansion location currently being Portland, the American League West would seemingly be the divisional landing place. A more watchable brand of baseball, thanks to designated hitters, and neighboring Seattle creating a local rivalry would be a couple of reasons. A six-team division is nothing the Astros have not experienced before, although it is not ideal. 

Their 15 years in the National League Central with the Cubs, Brewers, Cardinals, Pirates and Reds ended in 2013, and that division has been thriving ever since. After the Astros departure, the NL Central has produced a Wild Card team, or two, every single year. In 1998, the Brewers joined to become the sixth team in the division and the Astros were only able to claim its title twice since. 

The extra team in the division seems to lessen the parody amongst its members, perpetuating the strong to flourish and the weak to flounder. The Astros are currently the team to beat in the AL West, so a sixth team would appear helpful to their playoff chances at the moment. That may not be the case by the time Portland could make it to the show.

No team should want expansion in their division, but given the option, it benefits the winners most. The Astros find themselves in the midst of one of their most talented eras and would have the advantage should another team join, although time is not in their favor. Should a Portland MLB team happen in a realistic time frame of five years from now, Houston would have a group of talent exiting their prime. 

The wheels of expansion turn slow, and the potential World Series path ahead could grow more challenging than ever. Portland's stride towards baseball is a shot across Houston's bow. Stocking up on prospective talent is the league's standard procedure and answer for everything, but the time to win is now. 

The Astros should impose their dominance by any means possible. The potential of a new team smothering divisional movement should create urgency. Afforded with a hypothetical five year timetable, the investment in the future is important, but right now some of the best Astros ever can setup greatness for years to come in what could be a crowded division.