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.