MLB could expand playoffs for 2020 season before Opening Day?

By Matt Johnson
Oct 4, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; The 2019 MLB post season logo is seen on a on deck circle before game one of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Opening Day for the 2020 MLB season is just hours away, but things could get even more interesting before the first pitch is thrown with playoff expansion back on the table.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, MMLB officials and the MLB Players Association are discussing the possibility of expanding the postseason for the 2020 season.

Expanded MLB playoffs back on the table

When the 2020 season was suspended in March, MLB and the MLBPA spent months negotiations plans for baseball’s return. Both sides discussed expanding the 2020 postseason, but the proposal failed when an agreement wasn’t reached and commissioner Rob Manfred implemented his plan for the 2020 season.

As a result of a deal in March, which outlined plans for this season, MLB couldn’t institute an expanded playoff field this year. Instead, the league would need to wait until the collective bargaining agreement expired after the 2021 season.

However, the mood seems to be shifting across MLB. While both sides only have until first pitch of the New York Yankees-Washington Nationals game to agree on expanding from a 10-team field to a 16-team postseason format, MLB and the MLBPA are trying to make it happen.

Given the potential hit to league revenue MLB may suffer this year with stadiums empty, more postseason games would help the league generate more money through selling the broadcasting rights. Notably, MLB agreed to a billion-dollar deal with Turner Sports in June for the broadcasting rights to one league championship series.

As the latest MLB power rankings show, an expanded playoff format would be great for baseball. More teams competing in a 60-game season will result in extra intensity during the regular season and could lead to a surprising World Series champion.