The MLB playoff system is about to get an overhaul.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that with negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement moving at a fast pace, the two sides have “all but agreed” to add one Wild Card team in each league.
Under this scenario, one-game playoffs will be held to determine which Wild Card team advances to the next round. The changes could be instituted as soon as next season, as the two sides hope to announce a new CBA during the World Series, but the new system will begin no later than 2013.
The big hang up with the new CBA is disagreement over how to handle the draft, especially in regard to slotting. MLB also wants to have two 15-team leagues, something that is tied up because of the sale of the Astros, who are the most likely team to move to the American League.
What’s the motivation with expanded playoffs? Well, we’re going to hear plenty about fairness and the importance of winning your division, but this is — no surprise — mostly about cash.
Management has been interested in going from eight to 10 playoff teams to create more contenders in September and to add inventory to sell to a TV network.
The TV networks generally have been uninterested in the other wild-card option — a best-of-three series — instead wanting the drama and ratings potential of a sudden-death game.
By the way, if these changes were instituted right now, the Cardinals would have a two-game lead over the Giants for the final Wild Card spot while the Rays would hold a one-game lead over the Angels.
The Rockies placed Carlos Gonzalez on the 10-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain, per an announcement on Sunday. The move is retroactive to April 19, the day after Gonzalez sustained the injury on a phenomenal diving catch during the Rockies’ 10-2 loss to the Pirates. In corresponding moves, outfielder Mike Tauchman was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque, while corner outfielders David Dahl and Noel Cuevas were recalled from the minors.
Gonzalez, 32, got off to an underwhelming start this spring. The veteran outfielder exited Wednesday’s game batting a modest .235/.264/.426 with three home runs and two stolen bases in his first 72 plate appearances of the 2018 season. Despite sustaining a plethora of minor injuries over the last few years, this looks to be his first serious setback since undergoing knee surgery back in 2014.
It’s still unclear how long he’ll be sidelined, though club manager Bud Black said Gonzalez appeared to be recovering well prior to the decision on Sunday. “I think probably the thing that put us over the top was with [Gerardo] Parra’s suspension starting today and CarGo not 100 percent,” he told reporters, adding that while Gonzalez seemed capable of pinch-hitting, he would not have been able to run the bases.
In the meantime, Cuevas figures to make his major-league debut sometime over the next week. The 26-year-old outfielder is in his ninth minor league season, and left Albuquerque with a .333/.419/.571 batting line and eight extra-base hits though his first 74 PA. Dahl, 24, could also see his first major-league assignment since 2016, when he slashed .315/.359/.500 with seven home runs and five stolen bases in 63 games with the Rockies.