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. 


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96 Comments on "MLB Likely To Add Wild Card Team, One-Game Playoff"


DunkinDonuts
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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.

MattCMoore
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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.

Cyyoung
3 years 10 months ago

Agreed, dont like it.

3 years 10 months ago

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
3 years 10 months 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.

Nelson Royster
3 years 10 months ago

2 out of 3 please! No one game playoffs!

EdinsonPickle
3 years 10 months ago

Damn it.

Madraider
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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.

3 years 10 months ago

I would agree if there were a salary cap.

LUWahooNatFan
3 years 10 months ago

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

Redbirds16
3 years 10 months ago

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

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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.

3 years 10 months ago

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

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 10 months 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…

3 years 10 months ago

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

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 10 months 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.

bonestock94
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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. 

3 years 10 months ago

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
3 years 10 months ago

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

3 years 10 months ago

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
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months ago

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

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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
BlueSkyLA
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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
BlueSkyLA
3 years 10 months 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.

Andre Murray
3 years 10 months 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?

3 years 10 months ago

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

captainjeter
3 years 10 months 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  .

3 years 10 months ago

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).

3 years 10 months ago

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
3 years 10 months 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.

tycobb
3 years 10 months ago

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

captainjeter
3 years 10 months 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 .

Mark Vidov
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months 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
3 years 10 months ago

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

soxtober05
3 years 10 months 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.

notsureifsrs
3 years 10 months ago

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

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 10 months 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.

3 years 10 months ago

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
3 years 10 months ago

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

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 10 months ago

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

Morley C
3 years 10 months ago

Much better. :)

$7562574
3 years 10 months 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.

3 years 10 months ago

Are you a special needs person?

$7562574
3 years 10 months ago

none more so than you!

3 years 10 months ago

That’s what I thought.

3 years 10 months ago

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

dylanp5030
3 years 10 months ago

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

3 years 10 months ago

What’s you get the playoffs it’s not that far off from a crap shoot. Anyone can win.

3 years 10 months ago

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
3 years 10 months ago

But terrible for every other division.

3 years 10 months ago

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).