How MLB expansion would affect the Boston Red Sox

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 26: Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred looks on during the 2016 Hank Aaron Award ceremony prior to Game Two of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on October 26, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 26: Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred looks on during the 2016 Hank Aaron Award ceremony prior to Game Two of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on October 26, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Major League Baseball is apparently looking into two expansion teams, which would affect the league as a whole and our Boston Red Sox.

The last MLB expansion came in 1998, but now talks seem to be on the table to add another two teams to the league. There are also drastic league changes being proposed that would change a lot of things for the Boston Red Sox and their fans.

The league is looking into adding teams in Montreal and Portland. Montreal of course once had the Expos, but Portland would be an entirely new baseball market. A crazy change in alignment would come next and with it, there could be a shorter 152-game schedule and an expanded playoff picture.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred hinted at an Expos return this past July. He also noted in September that Portland, Oregon would be on the short list for expansion cities.

"“Portland would be on the list,” he said. “I think Portland is a possibility. You can think about the prospects on the West Coast probably as effectively as I can.”"

Other possibilities on the west coast could be Mexico City, Vancouver, Austin, or Las Vegas.

For this scenario though, I’ll stick with Portland which seems to be the favorite. The first thing that would happen, of course, would be realignment, and the idea that has been proposed is pretty drastic.


In the realignment that is proposed, the American League and National League would be gone, along with their divisions. That means no more AL East with the Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays, and Orioles. This would also likely force all previous NL teams to use a designated hitter, eliminating the pitcher as a batter completely. There would surely be a ton of baseball purists aiming to dispute these changes.

Under the new format, the majors would be broken up into four total divisions, the East, North, Midwest, and West. Here’s what those divisions would look like with teams in Montreal and Portland added to the mix.

East: Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington

The East would be an interesting division, spanning from Miami all the way up the coast to Philadelphia. The division would also spread west a bit, to include the Pirates and Reds. A lot of rivalries are broken up in these new divisions, but having Baltimore and Washington play each other a lot more would be really fun.

Boston Red Sox
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 10: Jacob deGrom /

North: Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota, Montreal, New York Yankees, New York Mets, Toronto

Don’t worry Red Sox fans, Boston and New York would be able to maintain their rivalry. In fact, it could actually get more fun with the Mets and Yankees both in the division. Boston fans would be able to hate on both New York teams. The rivalry with Toronto would also be held on to. In this division, the Red Sox would also face the Indians a lot more, and that could be a lot of fun with how well these teams have played each other recently.

The Mets and Yankees would also play a lot more, and we know how strongly those two fans bases feel about each other. A Canadian rivalry between Montreal and Toronto would also give that country a lot to root for. Honestly, I really like the way the North division would line up for the Red Sox.

Midwest: Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Colorado, Houston, Kansas City, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Texas

The Midwest division would really not only be the Midwest since it includes Colorado, Houston, and Texas. This division would also allow for some more in-state rivalries with both Chicago teams clashing and both teams in Texas going at it. If this were to start soon, it would likely come down to a Cubs-Astros battle for the division title, but the Rockies, Brewers, and Cardinals would all be right on their heels.

Boston Red Sox
OAKLAND, CA – JULY 31: Chad Pinder /

West: Anaheim, Arizona, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle

Of course, every team in California would be in the West division. The Angels, Dodgers, A’s, Padres, and Giants would get to play each other more often, and that would cut down on the team’s travel schedules. I also think a nice rivalry would eventually grow between Seattle and Portland, the only two Pacific Northwest teams in the majors.

Shortened Season

In order to even further lessen the travel burden for west coast teams, the MLB season would be shortened. Right now, teams play a 162-game schedule in a 183-day span.

"Ringolsby’s proposal calls for a 156-game schedule that would include 12 games (six home and six road) against teams within the same divisions, down from 19 in the current format, and then three games against each of the 24 others."

This would save the players as they’d be guaranteed an off day each week. Teams would also save some money, as the proposal calls for road trips that are just 2 games long. That would mean a perfectly balanced home-away structure each month. On the downside, Boston would have to make multiple west coast trips to play the California, Seattle, and Portland teams.

Postseason Picture

The postseason expanded to 10 teams in 2012 with the Wild Card games being added in 1995. With 32 major league teams, 12 would make the cut and get into the postseason. The proposal calls for each division winner to be automatically placed into the Division Series, while the remaining 8 teams would play 4 Wild Card games. So, there would be a ton of emphasis on winning the division still so that you don’t have just a 1-game playoff.

Boston Red Sox
BOSTON, MA – APRIL 29: Mitch Moreland /

With the elimination of the AL and NL, we could get some interesting matchups, like Red Sox-Cubs in the Championship Series or Red Sox-Yankees in the World Series. Or, imagine having to play the Rockies in a Wild Card game, then the Cardinals in a Championship Series and the Astros in the World Series. That could soon be the world we live in.

Next: 5 facts about Red Sox manager Alex Cora

So, are you in favor of adding two expansion teams to the MLB and implementing the radical changes that may come with it? As it stands, I don’t think I’m a fan. I like the subtle nuances and differences between the American League and National League. I like our smaller rivalry with the Baltimore Orioles. It’s all well and good if Montreal and Portland get ballclubs, but they should find a better way to do so.