Should Major League Baseball expand its playoffs in 2022?

Tanya Simon
February 13, 2020

Cincinnati Reds right-hander Trevor Bauer took to Twitter on Monday to rip commissioner Rob Manfred following reports that Major League Baseball is considering playoff format changes that would include some teams picking their opponents.

According to the New York Post, the playoff-extension model would give the team with the best overall records in each league a bye, putting them straight through to the Division Series, and then division winners and teams with the second-best record would pick their own playoff opponents. The big twist? The two division winners would get to choose which wild card they wanted to face.

Sherman reports that the regular season series between teams would be used to solve tiebreakers at the end of the season, eliminating the need for a 163rd game.

If the playoffs were different, how different would they be?

The team with the better record would host all three games. Because of course it would. Whichever Wild Card team was left would have played at the Nationals.

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Major league baseball added a second wild card team for the 2012 season. While a three-game wild card round has been tossed around informally for years, this is one of the most serious proposals for moving away from the do-or-die game.

At present time the team with the best record is guaranteed home-field advantage through the World Series.

Baseball now has the fewest postseason teams out of the four major North American sports.

Any change to the postseason would have to be collectively bargained with the players union, so the soonest these changes could come is for the 2022 season, after a new labor agreement is in place. The third division victor also gets to pick from remaining teams.

The apparent downside? While tweaking the playoff format could actually add some excitement, it likely wouldn't do enough to discourage tanking, would put mediocre teams in the postseason and allow some organizations to justify non-action as "playoff contention".

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