Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said on Thursday that he is willing to consider expanding the playoffs as early as next season, and said a larger postseason might not have to wait for collective bargaining with the players, according to the Associated Press.
“Obviously, we have to talk to the union,” Selig said. “These are all details we have to work out. While I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, we have a lot of different opinions on the subject — how to do it, if to do it.”
Michael Weiner, the head of the players’ union, said his members are open to extending the playoffs, including making the division series a best-of-seven series.
Since the wild card was added to the MLB playoff format in 1995, eight of the league’s 30 teams have made the playoffs. That’s a far cry from the NBA and NHL, where 16 of 30 advance. In the NFL, 12 of 32 teams compete in the postseason.
There have been a number of ideas thrown around for how to expand the playoffs, including having two wild card teams play each other in a one-game playoff for the chance to play the team with the best record in the LDS. That wouldn’t add a whole lot to the postseason, would add some incentive to nabbing the top seed, and might add a little more intrigue to the stretch run.
But Selig said he is concerned about the playoffs stretching too deep into the cold-weather season, saying “we’ll look at everything, but look, I’m already concerned.”
You can follow Bob on Twitter, and get all your HBT updates here.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.