The New MLB Playoff System for 2022

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The New MLB Playoff System for 2022

Chicago Cubs

I just wanted to lay out the new playoff system in full since everything has been so harried the last couple days. I haven’t actually written it all out anywhere, other than to repeatedly note that the playoffs are expanding from 10 teams to 12 in the new CBA.

So there’s the full rundown of the changes:

⇒ Six teams make the playoffs from each league, three Division winners and three Wild Cards.

⇒ The top two Division winners will get a bye in the first round. The other Division winner and the top Wild Card will host the other two Wild Card teams in a three-game series (i.e., all three games will be at the higher seed’s home park, so there’s some added incentive there, even if you don’t get one of the byes).

⇒ The winners of those Wild Card series will then face the two teams that got a bye in the five-game Divisional Series, basically like that series has always been. Then the winners go to the seven-game League Championship Series.

⇒ Sadly, there are no more Game 163s. Ties of that nature will instead now be determined by a tie-breaking formula. Boo.

Does any of this impact what the Cubs will plan to do now? No. It’s only one more spot in the NL, and they are already pretty clearly a roster that will need a lot of breaks in the first half to be in playoff contention come July. They will make moves in this Offseason Part Two to supplement that “give ourselves a chance,” but the deals will be – in my opinion – generally shorter-term, higher-AAV swings. Then, if the ball DOES bounce your way by July, you become a surprise buyer. If not, you sell again. Just feels like that’s the reality of the situation, and an extra playoff spot won’t change that calculus for now.



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.