Quote of the Day: Bud Selig on expanding the playoffs

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“It’s more fair than eight.”

Bud Selig, when asked if ten playoff teams — which Selig is strongly considering for 2012 — is “fair.” And 12 is more fair than ten, and 16 is way more fair than 12.  We can play this game all day if we want to.

Either way, with the union appearing to adopt the idea of an expanded playoff wholeheartedly, it seems inevitable that it’s going to happen. Baseball will survive this, just as as it survived the wild card. But let’s not equate survival with optimal conditions, OK?  Baseball’s playoffs are better than the other sports precisely because mediocre teams are, for the most part, kept out.

And, it’s worth noting, if there was a 10-team setup this year, there would have been basically zero pennant race drama whatsoever apart from a bit of a battle between Boston and Chicago for the fifth slot in the AL.  The whole thing between San Francisco, San Diego and Atlanta would have been totally academic.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.

The Red Sox sign Jhonny Peralta

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The Red Sox have signed third baseman Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league deal. He’ll report to Pawtucket.

Peralta, 35, hit a paltry .204/.259/.204 in 58 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year. But with Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list — and ineffective when he hasn’t been — the Sox could use some infield depth.

This is the second former Tiger that former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has picked up today, after signing Doug Fister. No word if he’s kicking the tires on Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch.