Atlanta Braves playing in the MLB Central division?

An MLB restart of late June/early July is starting to gather some momentum.  Then there’s this new plan for a radical realignment for the Atlanta Braves.

Under a new plan floated (leaked?) by a source within major league baseball through the USA Today, the Atlanta Braves could end up as a Central Division team for 2020 via a scheme that regionally divides the thirty teams into just 3 divisions.

The “chatter” toward getting things restarted – the economy, sports, life in general – is definitely picking up and baseball is part of that.  There’s still a lot to be decided, but this at least has the “feel” of something that might work.

Here’s the gist of the plan, compiled from multiple sources:

  • 7-day notice to players and auxiliary personnel before restarting.
  • 3 weeks of re-Spring Training.
  • A season start date somewhere in the late-June/early July time frame.
    • I postulated a June 25 start on radio today; Jeff Passan of ESPN suggests early July.
    • Either way, that jives with a lot of “re-opening” dates around the country, and allows for roughly 100-115 games (there are 124 days between July 1 and November 1).
  • 3 “hub sites” with 10 teams apiece.
  • All hub site teams play within their new division – no crossovers.
  • If conditions allow, a changeover to using regular MLB cities could take place at some point – perhaps early-on in the process

Where do the Atlanta Braves end up?

Here is an early look at their possible division:

  • Cubs
  • White Sox
  • Brewers
  • Cardinals
  • Royals
  • Reds
  • Indians
  • Twins
  • Tigers
  • Atlanta Braves

How did this come to pass?  It’s a mash-up of the AL/NL Central divisions, though Atlanta and Pittsburgh are swapped out for the sake of geographic proximity.

Honestly, if that’s the correct grouping, I’d also suggest that the Braves might have been moved over to make this division look at least somewhat more balanced.

How so?  Check out the proposed Eastern division teams:

  • Yankees
  • Mets
  • Red Sox
  • Nationals
  • Rays
  • Phillies
  • Blue Jays
  • Pirates
  • Orioles
  • Marlins

That’s a fairly tough top 5-7 clubs… imagine if Atlanta were also in there.  So Braves fans?  Be happy:  you’re clearly the favorites in this new MLB Central.

TIMETABLE:  If this is going to happen for that late-June-early-July time period, then Spring Training must begin within the first week of June.

As things stand, teams have committed to pay their staffs through the end of May, so that 7-day notice of a new round of Spring Training could go out then with “back-to-work” notices for everyone at that same point.

Next: Maybe it doesn't matter which division?

So perhaps we’re just over a month from resuming baseball operations in some form or another?  Let’s hope!