Bud Selig was just in front of a few reporters down at the GM meetings in Florida, and he was asked about the expanded playoff proposal. He said this about the number of playoff teams:
“Eight is a very fair number, but so is 10.”
And so is 11. And 16. Twenty-four may be fairer than anything. But not 30. No, screw 30. That’s just communism.
In all seriousness, though, I’d probably be less hostile to expanded playoff talk if someone in power could make a single baseball-based argument in favor of it. Likewise, if they simply said “this is about the money, really.” I’d probably lay off too, because hey, at least it’s honest. But please, spare me the “10 is more fair than eight” baloney. What are we, total idiots to them?
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.