In 2012, Major League Baseball expanded its playoff format to include a second Wild Card team, increasing the number of postseason teams from eight to 10. But in an effort to perhaps improve ratings and excitement for the postseason, the MLB may be making an even more radical change to its playoff structure.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the MLB is weighing a new playoff structure with 14 teams. Such a structure would add two more wildcard teams to each league.
But the more radical idea would be to let the higher seeded teams pick their opponents in the Wild Card round.
Sherman explained that the team with the best record in each league would get a bye. The team with the second-best record would pick its opponent from among the four wildcard teams. Then the final division winner would pick its opponent from the remaining three, leaving the last two teams to play against each other.
Here’s Sherman’s explanation, via NYPost.com:
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. The Twins would then pick next as the other division winner, and then the A’s with the best wild-card record would play the team not chosen by the Yankees or Twins.
As radical as the idea sounds, it would certainly add an incredible level of strategy and intrigue to the postseason. There aren’t many sports leagues where a team has a choice over who they get to play when silverware is on the line.
What do you think of this potential change to the MLB playoff structure?