Major League Baseball is mulling significant changes to its postseason, including increasing the number of teams from 10 to 14 and adding a reality TV-type format to determine which teams play each other in an expanded wild-card round, sources told ESPN.
MLB is considering a move in which each league would have three division winners and four wild-card teams making the postseason starting in 2022, sources said. The best team in the league would receive a bye into the division series. The two remaining division winners and the wild-card team with the best record of the four would each host all games of a best-of-three series in the opening round
Once the teams clinch and the regular season ends, the plan gets congested:
- The division winner with the second-best record would select its wild-card opponent from the three wild-card winners not hosting a series.
- The division winner with the worst record would then choose its opponent from the remaining two wild-card teams.
- The final matchup would pit the wild-card winner with the best record against the wild-card team not yet chosen.
All of the selections, sources said, would be unveiled live on television the Sunday night of the final regular-season games.
Currently, two teams from each league play a winner-take-all wild-card game, and the winner faces the team with the league’s best record.
The appeal of the changes, according to the New York Post, which first reported on the possibility, is twofold. It could increase fan interest and could benefit MLB via a richer television-rights package.
Any proposal would have to be negotiated with the players’ association. The current collective bargaining agreement runs through the 2021 season.