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Will more teams follow the Houston Astros’ rebuilding (tanking) plan?

Morning news and notes for Monday, November 6, 2017

Houston Astros Victory Parade Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

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In reality, the Astros followed an NBA-style tanking model. It made sense. It’s better to be really bad for a while, and position yourself to be really good, than to be mediocre for a long stretch of time. More and more clubs appear to be adopting this mindset: reduce payroll, exchange veteran talent for prospects, and get in better position to acquire elite talent in the draft and internationally. The Astros took a rational, logical approach and maximized the return.

Of course, more teams are operating this way. Even entering the season, there was a pretty clear line between the contenders and non-contenders. And that’s part of a definite trend. Consider: teams that placed last or second-to-last in divisions this year finished, on average, 27.1 games back of their respective division leaders.

Five years ago, it was only 24.4 games.

Five years before that? Just 18.3 games.