MLB Likely To Add Wild Card Team, One-Game Playoff

Negotiations between the players' union and the owners are moving at a fast pace according to Joel Sherman of The New York Post, and he reports that the two sides have all but agreed to add one wild card team per league. A one-game playoff would then determine which wild card team advances. The system could be installed as soon as next season, but no later than 2013.

One of Sherman's sources said it was a done deal, another said it was likely to play out that way. Nothing will become official until the next Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed, however. The current CBA expires in December, but the intensity of the talks gives both sides hope that a new deal will be announced during the World Series. The owners are interested in expanding the playoffs to increase the number of contenders, as well as add inventory to sell a TV network. The one-game playoff would create additional incentive to winning the division.

A major hurdle that remains in the CBA negotiations is the draft, particularly whether or not to include a slotting system. Sherman says there is also a lot of work to be done creating two 15-team leagues, which in part hinges on the sale of the Astros since they are the club most likely to move from the NL to the AL. Six five-team divisions would help create a more balanced schedule. 

96 Responses to MLB Likely To Add Wild Card Team, One-Game Playoff Leave a Reply

  1. DunkinDonuts 4 years ago

    The one-game playoff is an awful idea, particularly coming off a 162-game gauntlet in which the wild card teams may have expended their entire rotations trying to win a division.  You may as well flip a coin.

    • strikethree 4 years ago

      A lot of times, MLB game odds are coin flips anyway.

      I actually like the idea of the wild card team facing a larger penalty for not winning their division. To me, it wasn’t enough that they just lose home field advantage. This penalty would make it a heck of a lot more important to win a division.

      Regarding the rotation aspect, teams should always manage their rotation effectively. Plus, this is one more game — not 5 or 7. It adds to strategy: managers need to think about their rotation structure. (God forbid they have to think) Yes, it sucks for them but they are getting a playoff chance even though they didn’t win their division. Currently, the WC spot is being treated too equally when compared to the other playoff spots — which shouldn’t be the case.

      Maybe add in another 2 games to make it 3. I mean, it also benefit the teams as they are being given extra games to garner more ticket purchases. (plus other revenues) Obviously, the biggest loser would be the WC team that loses out on the other playoff revenues by not advancing.

      It adds a twist that I kind of like.

      • DunkinDonuts 4 years ago

        You hit the nail on the head with the three-game proposal.  You can effectively penalize a team for not winning the division by requiring wild card teams to play a three-game series while the division winners rest for four or five extra days.

        It’s a win for revenue and a win for fans who don’t want to see a 162-game grind come down to a crapshoot that hinges on which of John Lackey or Wade Davis throws the worst five innings.

        One point about the current wild card format that is worth noting… it is a fairly egalitarian way of neutralizing the disproportionate strength among divisions by allowing each wild card contender to compete against the other teams in the league without worrying about whether they are trying to catch the 100-win Yankees or the 87-win Cardinals.  The current wild card format gives a team like the Rays a fighting chance to overcome the misfortune of being lumped in a division with the Yankees and Red Sox, while teams like the Tigers have the luxury of sleepwalking their way to a division title.

        • strikethree 4 years ago

          True, but wouldn’t the most fair way be to be seeded just by record then?

          But, that would mean huge outcry from smaller market teams about payroll and such.
          Actually, wouldn’t this new system be more fair to a team like the Rays? In this current format, they don’t seem likely to take the WC even though they are a playoff team.

          At least with this new system, they would face the RS for that playoff spot instead of being eliminated altogether by the 1 WC slot format.

        • Matt Moore 4 years ago

          The Tigers “sleep walked their way to a divition title” cause I coulda swore they had the longest winning streak of the season. The Tigers are a way better team than the Rays anyways.

          • DunkinDonuts 4 years ago

            If you read the post, it says “have the luxury of sleepwalking…”  If you check the standings, the Indians are 78-78.  The Tigers could have started forfeiting games exactly one week ago and still won the division.

    • captainjeter 4 years ago

      I agree. This is  a dumb idea. What do they think is going to happen? Generate more interest? Cause more competition to win  divisons? 

    • es0terik 4 years ago

      Exactly. A one game playoff is stupid. Want to know why? Because in that case, having a second wild card is almost useless, since technically you already have that implemented. The game is already set up so that if two teams tie for the first Wild Card, they have a one game playoff to decide who moves on, adding a second Wild Card would be no different. It should be a 3 game series, it would make much more sense.

    • es0terik 4 years ago

      Exactly. A one game playoff is stupid. Want to know why? Because in that case, having a second wild card is almost useless, since technically you already have that implemented. The game is already set up so that if two teams tie for the first Wild Card, they have a one game playoff to decide who moves on, adding a second Wild Card would be no different. It should be a 3 game series, it would make much more sense.

  2. Cyyoung 4 years ago

    Agreed, dont like it.

  3. One game playoffs between the 2 Wild Card teams from each division?! Are you serious?? That just doesn’t make much sense at all. I mean you can’t argue against the whole scheduling, but just 1 game is just way too tough to decide the playoff fate of a team that’s played all year.

    • Lanidrac 4 years ago

      Agreed.  It needs to be 2 out of 3. I don’t want to see my team make the playoffs only to get ousted after just one game.  Besides, it will mean teams occansionally won’t even get the benefit of a single home game.

  4. Nelson Royster 4 years ago

    2 out of 3 please! No one game playoffs!

  5. EdinsonPickle 4 years ago

    Damn it.

  6. Madraider 4 years ago

    There shouldn’t be an expansion of playoffs period.  A 1 game playoff is a crap shoot, having a shortened series pushes the World Series firmly into November, which I believe is a mistake, considering play-off games are being scheduled around the NFL schedule already.

    • luis2738 4 years ago

      Not necessarily. If you schedule doubleheaders during the regular season, you can end the season much earlier than the end of September/start of October, and thereby create yourself more days for more playoff games. Also, the postseason has a ridiculous number of days off. Eliminate those and watch the DS and CS finish in under a week.

    • I would agree if there were a salary cap.

  7. LUWahooNatFan 4 years ago

    If they do add an wildcard team next year, Nationals will competing for one of two spots imo.

  8. Redbirds16 4 years ago

    This makes having an true ace all that much more important. 

    • start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      Except that puts you at a disadvantage for the next series. If you put your top pitcher in during the one-game playoff then not only is he probably not available until at least game 3 of the division series but whatever team you’re facing has an extra couple of days to set their rotation. Ultimately I see this as a way to limiting the chances of wild card team winning the World Series.

      I think the current playoff system is fine, it’s just Selig f-ing things up and saying he’s leaving his mark. The really pathetic thing is he’ll probably get into the Hall despite everything he’s done. But the thing I really hate the idea of is the 15 team leagues with continual interleague play.

      • captainjeter 4 years ago

        that will never happen. The AL owners will never allow dropping of the DH. That only works is both league adopt   the DH.

        • Lanidrac 4 years ago

          …which most of the NL teams will never accept, so I don’t think we have to worry about that one.

          Anyway, Bug Selig will eventually be known as the commisioner with the biggest mixed record in baseball history.  For every good decision he makes, he makes a boneheaded decision to compensate.

      • They should be at a disadvantage, they only won the Wild Card.  Wild Card shouldn’t have it so easy

        • BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

          So finishing second isn’t enough of a disadvantage? Maybe the wildcard team should be prohibited from winning. I wonder what team you root for…

          • Odds are basically even for second place teams in the playoffs as first place teams. 

      • BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

        Bingo. It’s partially a ploy to create more lucrative playoff games, and partially an effort at playoff rigging. Not that the fans are being asked their opinions.

  9. bonestock94 4 years ago

    I don’t like the randomness of a 1 game deal, but I do like the massive incentive it creates to win the division.

    • DunkinDonuts 4 years ago

      If we are going to increase the emphasis on winning the division, then we first have to level the playing field in each division.  Teams in the AL West have only three division opponents to leapfrog; teams in the NL Central have five.  The AL Central could likely be won by playing one or two games over .500.  Meanwhile, a team with the misfortune of competing with the Phillies juggernaut might have to win 101.

      It is not realistic to insist that a team like Toronto “step it up” each year to overcome three teams that might win 95 games, particularly when such teams have to face intradivision powerhouses a disproportionate amount of the time during the regular season.

      • bonestock94 4 years ago

        I don’t disagree with you, but this is probably the least controversial and simplest way to give such teams a chance.

      • melonis_rex 4 years ago

        They’re also talking about switching the Astros from the NLC to the ALW, which would even out the divisions at 5 a pop.

      • truthlemonade 4 years ago

        I do sympathize with Toronto and Baltimore, but remember Tampa Bay was a laughinstock until about 4 years ago.  And it didn’t even exist until 1998.  So, Toronto and Baltimore can theoretically “step it up,” it is just a lot harder than say, San Diego or Oakland.  And Philadelphia was garbage until 2007 also, so I do not yet have sympathy for NL East teams.  It wasn’t that long ago when Atlanta had a stranglehold on that division, not Philadelphia. 

  10. This is the only way the Angels can get in the playoffs… But then they’ll get swept by Boston. Arte Moreno YOU SUCK!!

    • melonis_rex 4 years ago

      Last time the angels and boston played each other in the playoffs, this didn’t happen. Check your facts. 

  11. I love the split leagues now (15v15) but HATE this addition to the playoffs…a team with a 82-82 record can now get very lucky and win in the postseason, while not deserving to get there. Sorry for the Capt. Hindsight-ness… 

    • captainjeter 4 years ago

      esactly , why should  a  barely  500 team  be allowed to get into the playoffs  because of an additional wild   card.
      This is just  another atempt on Selig’s part to make sure  teams like  the Yankees, Red  Sox,  and Phillies  are not always in  the playoffs  . But, as  much as people may hate that  idea of those   3  teams  always in on  it , they are the  3  teams that are the rating makers.
      Does Selig  actually think that people in general are  going to  care about  a  WS  between teams like the Royals  and  the Pirates   etc……

      • Spaldingballs 4 years ago

        The 5th highest record Is rarely “barely 500.” It actually frequently has a record than one of the division leaders.

        • BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

          The message is obvious to any baseball fan: Only one team actually deserves to appear in postseason, let alone win in postseason.

      • Encarnacion's Parrot 4 years ago

        Considering the playoffs are generally a crapshoot, I’d love to see the Royals and Pirates in the playoffs, and I couldn’t care less about either team. Change of pace like that is always refreshing.

    • Encarnacion's Parrot 4 years ago

      There’s one issue with your logic. If the .500 team beats, say, the Yankees in the playoffs, it’s the Yankees who then wouldn’t deserve to be in the playoffs. It’s not a sin for an underdog to be a victor.

      • luis2738 4 years ago

        I disagree, I think it is a sin if the underdog is so bad that it’s barely a .500 team. It’s a shame that after such a long season, an incredibly small number of games is used to determine who gets to represent each league in the World Series, but that problem doesn’t have to be worsened by letting even MORE teams have a chance to be the “underdog.” We need to go back to the days of 4-team postseasons.

        • BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

          For that matter, why have a postseason at all? If you are worried about undeserving teams making the playoffs, why not just name the team with the best overall record for the season as the champion and be done with it?

          • luis2738 4 years ago

            Well no, that has less historical precedent. The original reason for there to be a World Series was to determine which league champion was best. As a purist, that’s what I would support. Having a championship series and then a World Series still leaves the possibility that the inferior teams could make the World Series, but the possibility is less likely to happen, and even if it did, at least both teams would be division champions. When you start letting second place teams a chance to win the championship when they can’t even win their division, that’s treading into nonsensical territory.

          • BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

            Forget the precedent. That hasn’t applied since the divisions were created. Baseball is like a biathlon — a marathon followed by a sprint. A championship team has to be good enough at both. It’s not nonsense when an “inferior” team wins the series, and in fact it’s reassuring (to me, anyway) that teams not in the top five in payroll actually have a shot at toppling the perennial big spenders. That the fun in the thing. If it wasn’t for the sprint at the end, we could do as I facetiously suggested and just give it all to the top record holder at the end of the regular season and forget the playoffs entirely. That way we’d never have the “problem” of the “inferior” team winning the series.

  12. Andre Murray 4 years ago

    they should just have it like in football the WC teams face division winner..the WC team with the weakest record face the team with the best record. Its almost should be like seeding in the NBA.1 vs 8 2 vs 7..etc   I thought I heard something about the 2 top teams would get a bye  in the 1st round?

  13. Oh no! change is scary.  I like the expansion idea, but then again I am tired of playoffs with predominantly Boston and NYY.

    • captainjeter 4 years ago

      you forgot the Phillies. As I said  above, those  3  teams are the rating  winners in the playoffs and the WS.  Ratings=   money and that is what it is all about  .

      • ya, you are almost certainly right (LA is probably in there too), but I don’t have to like it. When they are winning, Toronto can be a huge market for baseball. However, I don’t know how the TV ratings work for the playoffs with a Canadian team (and possibly Canadian broadcast).

        • Put it this way; Toronto has the potential to have 35 million people in
          their fanbase, though they’re unlikely to be able to claim too much from
          the West or Quebec (I used to be an Expos fan, it’s still very hard to
          cheer for Toronto). Remove those sections, and there’s still probably 20million that could be in their fanbase.

          That’d make it one of the biggest in the league, I would assume, since
          the U.S. teams are subject to regional loyalties. Of course, there are
          more baseball fans per capita in the US, but Canadians will follow them
          more come playoff time – like how casual US fans will start following
          hockey when their “team” makes the playoffs, so will Canadians follow
          the Blue Jays.

      • dopefein 4 years ago

        Other than simply declaring your point, how to you actually support this claim? Yes, New York, Boston, and Philly are three large sports-tv markets, but they are by no means as dominant as you claim.  Chicago is actually the 2nd largest sports-tv market in the country, with Los Angeles a close third (this, even thos LA actually has a larger population).  Not having any California teams, or any Chicago teams in the playoffs truly hurts the MLB, just as not having St. Louis does as well.  The point is that when teams are out of the running so early in August or September, you lose lots of revenue.  The additional wild card will reduce that. 

        I see nothing wrong with this idea, but it must also come with re-alignment.  There must be two 15 league teams, with balanced schedules, and the AL East and NL Central will benefit from this the most.

  14. tycobb 4 years ago

    First a one game playoff, then instant replay. No a fan of this idea.

    • captainjeter 4 years ago

      as long as the umpires  are so awful , you need instant replay. But, not on everything like   balls and  strikes. It should be for the homerum and close calls at the bases .

  15. Mark Vidov 4 years ago

    One game playoff adds nothing to their “inventory”.
    – Return to 4 divisions: AL East/West, NL East/West 
    – Division winners get a bye
    – 4 wild card teams per league play a series of 3 or 5 to move on
    – 5 or 7 game divisional series
    – 7 game league championship
    – 7 game world series
    – Adjust the season somehow to start playoffs a few days earlier

    • BaseballFanatic0707 4 years ago

      make it a 120 game season. Done, fixed, and with your suggestion (which is what I’ve personally been hoping for forever), we won’t have stupid bs happen in the one game play-in.

      • Lanidrac 4 years ago

        That’s ridiculous. It would ruin all of the statistics and records.

      • soxtober05 4 years ago

        ABSOLUTELY HATE the idea of W/C teams from either league; LOVE the idea of a shorter season, but more like 142 games…Between 4-15 & 9-30…PERIOD! Make 42 of these TRUE double-headers…play, finish, re-prep field & re-start game…play-offs start 10-1, finish by 10-15…IMHO, a more compact season/schedule=a more INTENSE on field product AND a greater sense of winning urgency for both PLAYERS & MANAGEMENT.

  16. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    how the hell do they always manage to screw up every decent idea. so ridiculous

  17. Encarnacion's Parrot 4 years ago

    Have to agree with everyone else that a 1 playoff game is anticlimatic, and more useless than a toilet seat in a mancave. Best of 3 would be ideal, and if it pushes the season into the depths of winter, then shorten the season to 160 games–not like the number of season games isn’t ridiculous anyway.

    • I disagree that it would be anticlimatic even if a 3 game series would be more representative for selecting the “better team.” It would be like a tie-breaker game, those are generally quite exciting. 

    • Morley C 4 years ago

       “toilet seat in a mancave” – not sure about you man, but I like to sit down for #2

      • Encarnacion's Parrot 4 years ago

        You’re reading too much into it, but if you’d like, a urinal in a woman’s washroom.

  18. $7562574 4 years ago

    this is another moronic ploy by budt selling to ensure n.y. and boston are in the post season. and one game play-off? looks like the umps are going to decide the outcome.

  19. Say hello to 3 AL East teams in the playoffs every year! Go Jays!

    • Dylan 4 years ago

      Andne will be eliminated right away. Rays or Jays have a good shot to be one of those teams.

  20. This is great if you are a fan of an AL East team that doesn’t have the riches of NYY or BOS and have to watch teams that you are better then make the playoffs all time time (or within 5 games of, since we have a tougher schedule).

    • luis2738 4 years ago

      But terrible for every other division.

      • Yes but teams in other divisions have an easier path to the playoffs. My first choice would be a cap but that’s not gonna happen. In this format there would be no more excuses, no fan of a 92 win AL East team will be able to complain if they have a better record then a 90 win central or west champion (or 87 win team for that matter, since with the unbalanced schedule an 87 win team in the east is probably better then a 90-91 win team in the other divisions).

  21. inkstainedscribe 4 years ago

    Two 15-team leagues means season-long interleague play. Expansion to 32 teams (or contraction to 28) is probably out of the question, but I’d prefer either to an interleague series in late March/early April.

  22. MadmanTX 4 years ago

    The owners and Commish just keep f-ing up the whole sport. Why not just go to bracket playoffs and add cheerleaders while you are at it?

  23. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    balance the schedule

    top 4 teams (6 if you want) make the playoffs


    balancing the schedule is not impossible; it’s just difficult. for ~$20M a year, i think we can ask bud to do at least one difficult thing. that schmuck

  24. Jeff 4 years ago

    I’d be ok with it if the 2nd WC team had to finish within x games of the 1st team.

    I’m just waiting for that year when a 98-win WC gets knocked out by an 84-win team who has a Verlander.

    • Dylan 4 years ago

      That’s a great point. This absurd.

    • BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

      Then just get rid of the postseason entirely if you’re worried about a team with less wins defeating a “better” team in the playoffs.

      • BaseballFanatic0707 4 years ago

        His point is, though, that if you have a team that is, overall, vastly superior to another team-it is absurd and downright unfair to see that team go down just because the other team had one superior pitcher to play in that game. That’s why we have best of 5s and 7s.

        • BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

          I didn’t get that from what he said. He said it was unfair for 98-win team to be defeated by a 84-win team, and I took that to apply not just to the proposed sudden-death game but to the playoffs generally (might be wrong, but that’s what I read). If that happens, then maybe the “vastly superior” team wasn’t so vastly superior after all.

          • Thats Ridiculous….a 98 Game winner is the WINNER and a 84 game winner should under no circumstances be able to have a shot!

          • BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

            So you agree with my modest proposal that we can dispense dispense with the playoffs entirely? Ladies and gentlemen, the world champion Philadelphia Phillies!

  25. Another asinine idea, brought to you by Seligula.

    But hey – baseball for Thanksgiving!

    • The Wild card is Bull-S*#@ and bad enough ..barely tolerable….The Playoff is 162 Games!! ANY team can win a short playoff…The team in first place wins and goes to the World Series….and NOW this moronic corporate Commissioner wants to make a SECOND wild card??…. is he out of his mind??? a SECOND WILD CARD??? What is the point of playing all year??? It’s ALL About MONEY my friends…that is ALL it is about…..a Second Wild Card is INSANITY and should be IMMEDIATELY SHOT DOWN // Rescinded ..if it gets in once this @#$% is not the commissioner!!! ANYONE Agree?????

  26. The season is 162 games long.  After six months of play, we know who belongs in the playoffs and who doesn’t.

    The wild card stinks.  A second wild card stinks more.  Want to go to the playoffs? Win your division.

    Better idea: Add two teams to MLB.  Create 8 divisions of four teams each.  Division winners go to the playoffs; everyone else can pound sand.

    • MB923 4 years ago

      I’ve always liked that idea. But then again, what’s wrong with the way the NFL does it. If you make division winners only in the playoffs, there would be no more playoff rivalries meeting in the playoffs (no Yankees/Sox, no Giants/Dodgers, no Cardinals/Cubs).

      Do it like the NFL does, Top 2 divison teams get a bye, make the WC teams and all play the other 2 division winners in a best of 3 or best of 5, but preferably a best of 3 because the division winners will have too much time off.

      • BaseballFanatic0707 4 years ago

        yeah, best of 3 and it would need to begin almost immediately after the end of the regular season.

  27. wickedkevin 4 years ago

    At least there won’t be a lockout!

  28. MB923 4 years ago

    I posted this in the Baseball-Reference blog.

    So let me get this straight:

    The Yankees finish one year 100-62, the Red Sox finish 99-63 and have the first WC, the Rays finish the year 90-72 and have the 2nd WC.  The Red Sox and Rays both clinched wild card spots a week before the season ends. Exactly what is the point of those remaining games if 1 of those 2 teams seasons comes to an end on the very last day? The 3rd place Rays would get a shot at beating the 2nd place Red Sox (who are in the same division) on the last day of the season despite the teams being seaprated by NINE games?


    I like the idea of a 2nd WC team, but it should NOT be 1 game. Make it a best of 5, maybe a best of 3.

  29. HerbertAnchovy 4 years ago

    I don’t mind the idea of another Wild Card, but a one game playoff is moronic.

  30. The_BiRDS 4 years ago

    So if a team finishes with 90 wins and another finishes with 80 and they play a one game playoff and the undeserving(80 wining) team wins that ONE gmae thats fair? Thats going to piss a lot of cities off.

  31. Alldaybaseball 4 years ago

    Unfair how one wild card team can be way better than the other and still be eliminated by one game. For instance the Braves finish 1 game back of the Phillies with the second best record in baseball. The Cards finish way behind the Brewers but still have a better record than any other second place team. The Cards beat the Braves in a one game series. Fair?

  32. Edgar4evar 4 years ago

    They’re going the wrong direction with this. They should keep everything the same and make the Division Series seven games. This would add more games (between 2 and 4) than the one game playoff (2 games) to the overall postseason schedule so there’s more ads to sell, and it honors the difficulty of reaching the postseason in baseball.

    They need to even out the leagues, though. I’d actually like to see it done with expansion at the same time, with at least one new team being put in the northeast somewhere to bust up the territories of the big-market clubs up there. Then you could have two 16-team leagues and no requirement for interleague play at all times. Those NL teams are just too easy to beat.

  33. Matt Galvin 4 years ago

    DH and Pitcher in Same Lineup,Geographical Realignment and Top 6 teams from each League make it to Playoffs.

  34. melonis_rex 4 years ago

    I would let Joe West, Angel Hernandez, and CB Bucknor be the umpiring crew for one game playoff matchups. 

    Yeah, the idea is absolutely absurd–and its NOT how you deal with unequal divisions.

  35. The Wild card is Bull-S*#@ and bad enough ..barely tolerable….The Playoff is 162 Games!! ANY team can win a short playoff…The team in first place wins and goes to the World Series….and NOW this moronic corporate Commissioner wants to make a SECOND wild card??…. is he out of his mind??? a SECOND WILD CARD??? What is the point of playing all year??? It’s ALL About MONEY my friends…that is ALL it is about…..a Second Wild Card is INSANITY and should be IMMEDIATELY SHOT DOWN // Rescinded ..if it gets in once this @#$% is not the commissioner!!! ANYONE Agree?????

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