One other bit in the latest MLB proposal – discussed at length, and angrily, here – that merits its own attention comes via Jon Heyman, who reports that the possible group of playoff teams this year could be expanded SIGNIFICANTLY.
MLB’s latest proposal potentially adds 2 postseason teams to make it as many as 8 per league. Greater chance for below .500 team to make it if they agree to 16 total out of 30, but added postseason games make sense with so much missed revenue.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 8, 2020
From five playoff teams per league to a whopping eight, where more teams than not would make the postseason. I am all for postseason expansion – I like the idea of bumping to seven in each league with the added short series/one-gamers – but this is a little nuts.
I presume that this is a nod to a few things:
1.) With a mere 48-ish game season looming (sigh), you would want the ability to have more teams in the postseason, not only because we are going to have NO CLUE which teams are actually the best, but also you might have a crapload of ties atop the standings and in the Wild Cards.
2.) More postseason games means more revenue for the league. That *can* mean a larger pool to share with the players, but keep in mind, if the players don’t accept an owner offer, the default arrangement for the postseason gives players no salaries during the postseason, and the only cash they ever got was a portion of gate receipts. This year, that might be nothing at all.
3.) While I doubt this is a hoped-for approach for longer-term massive playoff expansion, it’s worth keeping in mind that this might hint at the other kind of expansion: like, more MLB teams. We know that expansion is already on the radar for this decade, but with the pandemic crushing MLB teams this year, the owners might be looking for a quick infusion of cash, and adding a couple teams – and their enormous expansion fees – would be a quick way to do it.
Ultimately, whatever the impetus, having more than half the teams make the postseason THIS YEAR ONLY might actually make sense. It would make less sense if MLB could just get a damn deal together for a 70+ game season, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Remember, though: MLB cannot unilaterally impose postseason changes. That has to be agreed to by the players, and if the owners mandate a mere 48-game season at prorated pay, then the players have no incentive to agree to expanded playoffs unless it comes with added cash their way.