Major League Baseball considering expanding playoffs to 14 teams

Report: MLB weighing major changes to postseason, would allow teams to pick their opponent

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has proposed a number of changes to the game in recent months, and his latest idea could double the number of wild card playoff teams in each league beginning in 2022.

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 division victor with the second-best record gets to pick its playoff opponent for a best-of-three series, which replaces the current wild-card format.

The thinking is that by extending and publicizing playoffs, it would bring more attention to Major League Baseball, which reported its seventh straight year of a drop in attendance, the Post reported. However, if the fifth seed happened to be a really appealing matchup, either because their ace is hurt or they just have struggled against them all year, the No. 2 seed could choose to play them instead.

The team with the better record would host all three games.


The division victor with the second-best record would select its wild-card opponent from the three wild-card winners not hosting a series. Sherman reports that the proposed new postseason format would see the top team from both the American League and National League receive a bye in the opening round, so they would automatically advance to the Division Series. The current collective bargaining agreement runs through the 2021 season. The unpredictability is tremendous, evidenced by the fact that only 13 teams since 1969 that finished the regular season with the best record went on to win the World Series.

The winners of the wild-card series would advance to the divisional round. In theory, though, additional playoff teams should provide elements that the union has been wanting.

Currently, baseball has the smallest playoff field (10) of any of the four major sports.

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