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Rivalry Renewed: Astros Move to AL West

November 17, 2011

The rich history of head-to-head combat and off-field shenanigans between the Houston Astros and Oakland A’s will be renewed for good as the Astros move the American League West beginning in 2013. The four teams have faced each other six times in their existence including three times where the difference was a lone run! Off the field who can ever forget the blockbuster deals like the 1989 deal that sent Troy Afenir to Oakland in exchange for Matt Sinatro?

Really, have there ever been two franchises with less to do with one another? Since the two teams came into existence they’ve had a total of five trades (this is including the Kansas City A’s), one of which was the A’s inserting themselves in a three-team trade with Kansas City that notably resulted in Carlos Beltran going to Houston, and that yielded the A’s Octavio Dotel and cost Oakland Mark Teahen.

Regardless, I have seen so much analysis on this move, but only one point of view that made any sense and it was in an article by Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times and it is a quote from Billy Beane.

“Billy Beane, general manager of the struggling Oakland Athletics, doesn’t see much benefit to playing more games against Houston. The Astros have had three consecutive losing seasons, but reached the World Series in 2005.

“That’s very short sighted, because things could change,” Beane said. “What’s more a concern for us is how big and how competitive a franchise you are. Right now, everyone is bigger than us.”

He is the only one who has talked about this with any semblance of sense. The “the Astros aren’t very good and we get to play them more often” is such a ridiculously stupid idea. This move while monumental in many ways is a non-move, the implications for the division rivals is only a statistical one in that they have one more team that can win the division reducing their odds of winning it in a down-year for all the clubs. Which is why I found it surprising the vote passed 30-0 (though my understanding is that is how all MLB votes tend to go) because all four AL West teams have enjoyed an advantage that no one else has since 1994 (well, the NL West enjoyed that advantage from 1994-1996 as well). That is significant, the team being the Astros not the Diamondbacks or Rockies, etc isn’t. It will be fascinating to see what Houston does this offseason in anticipation of the move. Do they go after a DH type who can satisfactorily play somewhere in the field in 2013? What are the payroll implications of a move to the AL, are there any? That’s the real story, but it also is a story for Astros blogs.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 17, 2011 12:55 pm

    I’ll be waiting with baited breath for those late-inning Andrew Carignan-Brian Bogusevic matchups.

  2. dkim permalink
    November 17, 2011 4:24 pm

    i still think they should have moved CO, AZ or the Padres to the AL west and moved Houston to the NL west.

    • November 17, 2011 4:31 pm

      Yeah I thought Arizona was the best choice. Shortest history. Natural interleague rival for Colorado. Houston moves to the West remains natural interleague rival for the Rangers. Houston has a 50 year history in the NL which while it only includes one NL Championship is still significant.

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