Francona: MLB realignment not a bad idea

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona thinks a potential realignment plan has some merit.

MLB is considering a proposal that would have 15 teams in the American League and 15 clubs in the National League, as opposed to the present format of 16 teams in the NL and 14 in the AL.

"I love the idea of a more balanced schedule," Francona said before Wednesday night's game against Tampa Bay. "Any player, coach, manager probably does because you're talking about the fairness of it. Just the idea of a more balanced schedule is probably a good thing."

Under the possible plan, the leagues would not be split into divisions. The top three teams would make the playoffs. The fourth- and fifth-place clubs would be wild cards and play for one spot.

"The more teams they want to have in the playoffs, I'm all for it," Francona said.

Commissioner Bud Selig's committee for on-field matters, a panel that includes executives, managers and others, has discussed the change that would take effect in 2012.

Francona would not have a problem if the divisional format was eliminated, and said with a smile that it would be OK if the New York Yankees, the Red Sox's AL East rival, were moved to the NL.

"I don't think you have to make rivalries," Francona said. "Those things happen."