Nov 16, 2010, 9:00 PM EST
UPDATE: Some hate it. Some like it. But MLB is more likely to expand the playoffs in 2012 as opposed to next season, according to the Associated Press.
Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive vice president of labor relations, explained earlier this afternoon that adding another wild card team would be “a difficult trick to pull off” because it would require reopening the collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union. The current deal runs through the end of next season, so don’t freak out yet. It’s at least a year away.
By the way, if the playoffs were expanded for this past season, the Yankees would have played the Red Sox in the American League and the Braves would have played the Padres in the National League.
12:30 PM: The general managers are all meeting in Florida this week and, as we’ve expected, one of the items on the agenda will be making a proposal to Commissioner Selig about expanding the first round of the playoffs with an additional wild card team. The news nugget here is that the GMs USA Today’s Bob Nightengale spoke to all prefer that the first round of the playoffs, which would be between each league’s two wild card teams, either be a one-and-done elimination game or, at most, a best of three scenario.
I’m on record as being opposed to any expansion of the playoffs, because I think it’s a cynical cash grab that Bud Selig has disingenuously portrayed as “fairness” — Fairness? Where’s replay then? – and that by increasing the number of teams eligible for the postseason party, you increase the chances that a bad team will get hot for a couple of weeks and more or less make a mockery of the regular season. Oh, and you likely reverse the things baseball has tried to do to cut the length of the playoffs down over the past couple of years. Worst of all, it creates a total crapshoot playoff round that is about as divorced from the normal dynamics of baseball than anything that’s ever been done before, and that sits with me quite poorly. One-and-done? If we’re gonna make a tournament out of this, let’s just invite all 30 teams and unleash the bracketologists.
Assuming, however, that baseball is intent on expanding the playoffs — which they appear to be — I suppose that a best-of-three scenario is the least worst option. Sure, it still makes a gimmick out of that first round, but at least it places a premium on winning the division as opposed to getting the wild card. Especially if the division series is expanded to seven games. Ask yourself: does Joe Girardi content himself with the wild card if it means that he has to face Jon Lester and the Red Sox in an elimination game, or does he try to pass up the Rays in order to assure himself of a best-of-seven first round? I bet the latter.
I still think it’s possible to make winning the division mean more than winning the wild card with only four playoff teams — compress the schedule; fiddle with home field — but if they’re hellbent on a bad idea, at least it will likely come with a half-decent side-benefit.
Dec 19, 2013, 11:00 PM EST
The Red Sox acquired utility infielder Jonathan Herrera from the Rockies yesterday in exchange for left-hander Franklin Morales and minor league right-hander Chris Martin, but manager John Farrell confirmed during an appearance on WEEI’s Hot Stove show this evening that the move doesn’t mean that the team has ruled out the return of Stephen Drew.…
Dec 19, 2013, 9:30 PM EST
We heard back in October that the Phillies had offered former manager Charlie Manuel a job to stay with the organization. While the 70-year-old was still hoping to land another managerial job elsewhere, with the Tigers’ vacancy mentioned as one possibility, nothing ever came of it. According to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Manuel…
Dec 19, 2013, 8:06 PM EST
According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, Giants first baseman/outfielder Brett Pill is in talks to play with the KIA Tigers of the Korea Baseball Organization. Baggarly hears that the Giants already have a deal in place to sell his contract, so Pill is just working on the money involved. John Shea of the San Francisco…
Dec 19, 2013, 7:22 PM EST
The Orioles reportedly reached a two-year, $15 million deal with free agent closer Grant Balfour earlier this week, but the agreement has hit a snag. According to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com, Balfour’s deal with Baltimore is in serious jeopardy due to issues with his physical that “need to be resolved.” While the signing was supposed…
Dec 19, 2013, 6:18 PM EST
Former Pirates right-hander Daniel McCutchen announced via his Twitter account this afternoon that he has signed a contract with the Rangers. It’s presumably of the minor league variety. McCutchen hasn’t appeared in the majors since August 21, 2012. The 31-year-old spent this past season in the Orioles’ minor league system, posting a 3.43 ERA and…
Dec 19, 2013, 4:30 PM EST
Today at ESPN Jim Caple takes a stab at listing the top 10 baseball songs of all time. He has “Centerfield” by John Fogerty at number one. I feel like picking the best baseball song is a fools’ errand if, for no other reason, than everyone has different musical tastes so who’s to say what…
Dec 19, 2013, 3:02 PM EST
One day after trading Danny Valencia for outfielder David Lough the Orioles have added some more outfield depth, with Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reporting that they’ve agreed to a minor-league deal with Xavier Paul. Paul has bounced around a lot without getting a ton of extended chances, hitting .254 with 12 homers and…
Dec 19, 2013, 2:47 PM EST
Dave Cameron of Fangraphs has a great post up that looks at the historical standards for the Hall of Fame and notes that Hall of Fame voters are being way, way, way harder on the current crop of candidates than their predecessors ever were on past candidates. Specifically: typically, between 1% and 2% of major…
Dec 19, 2013, 2:14 PM EST
Two offseasons ago Tsuyoshi Wada left Japan to sign a two-year, $8 million deal with Baltimore, but he underwent Tommy John elbow surgery before ever throwing a pitch for the Orioles. He hit the free agent market again after having a $5 million team option declined and now Wada has agreed to a minor-league deal…
Dec 19, 2013, 1:49 PM EST
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro has had $3.6 million seized from his bank accounts as the result of a legal dispute with a baseball school in the Dominican Republic. The upshot: the baseball school claims that Castro’s father agreed to give the school a percentage of Castro’s…
Legendary Pictures’ Thomas Tull — the Producer of “42″ — named to the Hall of Fame Board of Directors
Dec 19, 2013, 12:58 PM EST
Thomas Tull, the chairman and CEO of Legendary Entertainment — which has produced countless movies including Pacific Rim, The Dark Knight, The Hangover movies, Watchmen, 300, Inception, Clash of the Titans, Man of Steel and The Town – has been elected to the Board of Directors for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, it was announced today. Of…
Dec 19, 2013, 12:32 PM EST
Corey Brown was designated for assignment by the Nationals last week and today they traded the 27-year-old outfielder to the A’s for cash considerations. Or traded him back to the A’s, since Brown was drafted 59th overall by Oakland in 2007 and then traded to Washington in the Josh Willingham deal in December of 2010.…
Dec 19, 2013, 12:05 PM EST
Jon Morosi reports that the White Sox are near an agreement with free agent reliever Scott Downs. Rosenthal says it’s a one-year deal for $4 million, with a vesting option that could make it two-years, $8 million. Downs, most recently with Atlanta, is coming off a season in which he posted a 2.49 ERA and…
Dec 19, 2013, 11:47 AM EST
Nelson Cruz is still a free agent and still talking to the Rangers about potentially re-signing, but both Cruz and general manager Jon Daniels have made a reunion sound highly unlikely. Here’s what Cruz told Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star Telegram: It’s been tough, but I understand it’s part of the process. Hopefully,…
Dec 19, 2013, 11:31 AM EST
John Jaha, Jamie Navarro, Chris Bosio and 55 others finally get their due! The Brewers announced Thursday the creation of a team Wall of Honor at Miller Park in 2014 as a way of honoring players who carved niches in franchise lore during their playing days and time as staff members in Milwaukee. The Wall…
Dec 19, 2013, 10:52 AM EST
Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy spoke with Fox’s Jimmy Traina and told him that protective headgear for pitchers is likely going to be available in 2014. It won’t be mandatory — McCarthy and most other pitchers are opposed to that at the moment — but the fact that there will be an approved and available piece…
Dec 19, 2013, 10:30 AM EST
Major League Baseball sought to depose Alex Rodriguez‘s cousin Yuri Sucart in the lawsuit it filed against Biogenesis and lots of other folks. That is, the lawsuit which gave Major League Baseball the handle with which to turn Anthony Bosch and others as it pursued Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and other ballplayers. Over the summer Sucart filed a writ…
Dec 19, 2013, 10:15 AM EST
Greg Reynolds, who was the second overall pick in a stacked 2006 draft, has signed with the Seibu Lions in Japan after posting a 7.01 ERA in the majors. Even at the time of the draft many people questioned why the Rockies went with Reynolds, whose upside was considered modest coming out of Stanford. Evan…
Dec 19, 2013, 9:10 AM EST
Juan Gonzalez made something like $90 million in salary alone during his baseball career, so maybe he’s doing this to simply clear out the clutter. But whatever the motivation, you can now get your hands on some hot, hot Juan Gonzalez memorabilia. Up for auction? His 1996 MVP award. His 1996 and 2001 Silver Slugger…
Dec 19, 2013, 8:40 AM EST
There are a couple of reports this morning that Chien-Ming Wang has signed a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds with a spring training invitation. We last saw Wang getting shellacked in a July game for the Toronto Blue Jays, in which he couldn’t escape the second inning after allowing six runs on eight hits…
- Grant Balfour’s deal with Orioles in “serious jeopardy” due to shoulder issue 10
- Report: Rakuten will not allow Masahiro Tanaka come to the United States 62
- Mariners showing “continued interest” in Ervin Santana 10
- Happy Birthday, Ty Cobb! 89
- Dodgers re-sign left-handed reliever J.P. Howell to a two-year, $11.5 million contract 4