“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.
Indians outfielder Leonys Martin will be released from the Cleveland Clinic on Sunday, according to comments from club president Chris Antonetti. Martin was hospitalized with a life-threatening bacterial infection several weeks ago, one that was said to have affected multiple organs and jeopardized Martin’s quality of life, as well as his career. The length of his recovery process is still undefined, Antonetti added, noting that there’s “no precedent for how to return to playing shape,” though it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to work back up to full strength before the season wraps up in September.
It’s been a tumultuous season for Martin, who also battled a left hamstring strain that cost him another four weeks on the disabled list earlier this year. He’s appeared in just six games with the Indians this season, collecting five hits and two home runs over 17 plate appearances. Taking into account his 78-game stint with the Tigers prior to the trade deadline, he slashed a combined .255/.323/.425 with 11 homers and a .747 OPS across 353 PA in 2018.
As the outfielder’s status is still up in the air for the time being, no significant roster changes appear to be in the team’s immediate future. Fellow outfielders Greg Allen and Rajai Davis will continue to split duties in center field during Martin’s absence. The 25-year-old rookie, Allen, has seen the bulk of the starts in center field over the last two weeks and is currently batting .243/.278/.305 with seven extra-base hits and a .583 OPS in his first full season at the major league level.