Skip to content

UPDATE: GMs favor an additional wild card, best of three wild card playoff round

Nov 16, 2010, 9:00 PM EDT

Bud Selig defiant

UPDATE: Some hate it. Some like it. But MLB is more likely to expand the playoffs in 2012 as opposed to next season, according to the Associated Press.

Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive vice president of labor relations, explained earlier this afternoon that adding another wild card team would be “a difficult trick to pull off” because it would require reopening the collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union. The current deal runs through the end of next season, so don’t freak out yet. It’s at least a year away.

By the way, if the playoffs were expanded for this past season, the Yankees would have played the Red Sox in the American League and the Braves would have played the Padres in the National League.

12:30 PM: The general managers are all meeting in Florida this week and, as we’ve expected, one of the items on the agenda will be making a proposal to Commissioner Selig about expanding the first round of the playoffs with an additional wild card team.  The news nugget here is that the GMs USA Today’s Bob Nightengale spoke to all prefer that the first round of the playoffs, which would be between each league’s two wild card teams, either be a one-and-done elimination game or, at most, a best of three scenario.

I’m on record as being opposed to any expansion of the playoffs, because I think it’s a cynical cash grab that Bud Selig has disingenuously portrayed as “fairness” — Fairness? Where’s replay then? —  and that by increasing the number of teams eligible for the postseason party, you increase the chances that a bad team will get hot for a couple of weeks and more or less make a mockery of the regular season. Oh, and you likely reverse the things baseball has tried to do to cut the length of the playoffs down over the past couple of years. Worst of all, it creates a total crapshoot playoff round that is about as divorced from the normal dynamics of baseball than anything that’s ever been done before, and that sits with me quite poorly. One-and-done? If we’re gonna make a tournament out of this, let’s just invite all 30 teams and unleash the bracketologists.

Assuming, however, that baseball is intent on expanding the playoffs — which they appear to be — I suppose that a best-of-three scenario is the least worst option.  Sure, it still makes a gimmick out of that first round, but at least it places a premium on winning the division as opposed to getting the wild card. Especially if the division series is expanded to seven games.  Ask yourself: does Joe Girardi content himself with the wild card if it means that he has to face Jon Lester and the Red Sox in an elimination game, or does he try to pass up the Rays in order to assure himself of a best-of-seven first round?  I bet the latter.

I still think it’s possible to make winning the division mean more than winning the wild card with only four playoff teams — compress the schedule; fiddle with home field — but if they’re hellbent on a bad idea, at least it will likely come with a half-decent side-benefit.

Latest Posts
  1. Justin Verlander resumes throwing, but disabled list stint remains possible

    Apr 1, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT

    justin verlander getty Getty Images

    Verlander has never been on the disabled list in his 10-year career.

  2. 2015 Preview: Philadelphia Phillies

    Apr 1, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Cole Hamels Getty Images

    The Phillies are going to be bad in 2015. But just how bad?

  3. Phillies waived $12 million Cuban pitcher Miguel Gonzalez, but no team wanted him

    Apr 1, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

    Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez Getty Images

    Philadelphia’s pitching staff isn’t exactly stacked, but Gonzalez blew his chance to make the team by allowing 12 runs in 14 spring training innings.

  4. The Mets and Juan Lagares are close to a four-year extension

    Apr 1, 2015, 11:03 AM EDT

    Juan Lagares Getty Getty Images

    The Mets are locking up one of the best defensive center fielders in the game.

  5. Astros demote first baseman Jon Singleton to Triple-A

    Apr 1, 2015, 10:47 AM EDT

    Jonathan Singleton Getty Getty Images

    If he crushes Triple-A pitching he’ll be back soon enough.

  6. Marlins reliever Aaron Crow needs Tommy John surgery

    Apr 1, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    Aaron Crow AP

    Miami gave up left-hander Brian Flynn and minor leaguer Reid Redman to get Crow from Kansas City.

  7. HBT Extra: Anyone but the Twins could win the AL Central

    Apr 1, 2015, 9:46 AM EDT

    Corey Kluber Corey Kluber

    Jenna and I talk about whether the Tigers can do it again.

  8. Wrigley Field will still be a work in progress, but it will be ready for Opening Day

    Apr 1, 2015, 9:05 AM EDT

    Wrigley construction Getty Images

    So don’t listen to the rumors about how it’s not fit for man nor beast nor Cubs fan.

  9. HBT Extra: Talkin’ about the NL Central

    Apr 1, 2015, 8:37 AM EDT

    Mike Matheny Getty Images

    The Cardinals and Pirates are the class here, even if the Cubs get all the chatter these days.

  10. Coco Crisp likely to open season on 15-day disabled list

    Mar 31, 2015, 11:58 PM EDT

    coco crisp getty Getty Images

    A’s left fielder Coco Crisp has been bothered by discomfort in the middle of his right arm for much of spring training, limiting him to seven Cactus League games. And the injury isn’t getting any better.

  11. 2015 Preview: Cincinnati Reds

    Mar 31, 2015, 11:02 PM EDT

    votto getty Getty Images

    Is the fun over in Cincy?

  12. Rays get Erasmo Ramirez from M’s for Mike Montgomery

    Mar 31, 2015, 10:26 PM EDT

    erasmo ramirez getty Getty Images

    As first reported by beat writer Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays have acquired right-handed starter Erasmo Ramirez from the Mariners in exchange for left-hander Mike Montgomery.

  13. Luke Gregerson officially named Astros’ closer

    Mar 31, 2015, 9:40 PM EDT

    gregerson getty Getty Images

    Gregerson figured to get the job after signing a three-year, $18.5 million free agent contract with Houston in early December and he pitched well enough this spring to fend off any potential competition.

  14. Roberto Osuna makes Blue Jays’ bullpen, will be youngest pitcher in franchise history

    Mar 31, 2015, 8:36 PM EDT

    osuna getty Getty Images

    The 20-year-old right-hander announced the news on his Twitter account Tuesday …

  15. Ken Giles exits Grapefruit League game with back pain

    Mar 31, 2015, 6:54 PM EDT

    ken giles getty Getty Images

    Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com shares the news …

  16. Adam Wainwright named Cardinals’ Opening Night starter

    Mar 31, 2015, 6:09 PM EDT

    wainwirght getty Getty Images

    Adam Wainwright tossed a spring-high 93 pitches in a Grapefruit League appearance Tuesday afternoon against the Marlins and was officially declared the Cardinals’ Opening Night starter after the outing by manager Mike Matheny.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Fernandez (4960)
  2. C. Rodon (4318)
  3. Y. Tomas (4160)
  4. A. Rendon (4098)
  5. K. Jansen (3902)
  1. S. Doolittle (3844)
  2. C. Davis (3804)
  3. C. Martinez (3790)
  4. J. Verlander (3782)
  5. K. Bryant (3764)