Report: MLB considering expanding playoff field, other changes

Tim Heitman, USA Today Sports

With Major League Baseball getting ready for Spring Training, we’re already hearing reports of some potentially drastic changes to the sport’s playoff format moving forward.

According to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, MLB is considering expanding its playoff field from five teams in each league to seven teams. The report notes that this could change in time for the 2022 season. That’s not even the craziest part of said report.

Sherman notes that the team with the best record in each league would have a wild-card round bye. The team with the second-best record would legitimately get to pick its first-round opponent. That’s not the end of the changes.

“To use the AL last season as an example, the Astros with the best record would have received the bye. The Yankees, with the second-best record, would have had the choice to pick from among the Rays, Indians and Red Sox. Boston had the worst record of that group. Would the Yanks pick them or avoid the baggage of a series with their rival? It would create a ton of strategy and interest, and this is what MLB wants to sell,” Sherman noted.

The goal is for this to actually play out on live television the Sunday night the regular season ends. Think about the NCAA Tournament selection special for basketball.

It remains to be seen how viable this might be, but Major League Baseball is certainly discussing it. The shift would guarantee that 14 of the league’s 30 teams earn a spot in the postseason.