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#pounditThursday, January 27, 2022

Report: MLB pushing for controversial playoff expansion proposal

Rob Manfred

As agreements for free agent megadeals continue to be reached, other major negotiations are taking place behind the scenes in Major League Baseball. The league’s CBA is poised to expire on Dec. 1, and major changes will likely be necessary in the next agreement.

One of those changes could be to the league’s playoff format, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN. MLB is proposing a 14-team playoff with three division winners and four wild card teams from each league. The team with the best record would receive a bye into the Division Series, while the other two division winners would get to pick their opponents from the three worst wild card teams. The wild card team not selected would then face the best wild card team.

The proposal has detractors among both players and executives. Players are concerned that adding more playoff teams would give teams less of an incentive to spend money and compete, as teams close to .500 could make the postseason. Executives are concerned about it, as it could lead to public second-guessing or bulletin board material if a chosen opponent knocks their team out in the opening round.

This proposal came up prior to the 2020 season as well. The pandemic derailed any real attempts to institute it, but the league clearly likes the idea — and the revenue that would come from playoff expansion. It may be a hard sell to some players, though.

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