Expansion of playoffs, lottery project proposed during CBA negotiations
Before the collective agreement (CBA) between the MLB and the Players’ Association (MLBPA) expired earlier this week, the two sides met and exchanged proposals as they tried to negotiate a new deal.
Despite their conversations, the ABC expired and a lockout went into effect immediately. These are frozen deals involving rosters of 40 players and prevent players from using team facilities until a new deal is struck.
The MLBPA has remained focused on better competition and a player compensation system that is fairer to the union and more conducive to gaining free agency at a younger age.
In one of the last MLB proposals before the lockdown began, they called for an expanded playoff format that would allow a total of 14 teams to advance to the playoffs, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers:
â¢ The team with the best record in each league would be awarded a pass in the top five division series.
â¢ The other two division winners could choose their wild opponent from the last three wild teams. The division winner with the second best record would pick first, then the league’s No.3 seed would pick his opponent from the last two wild-card teams. The wild-card team with the best record would play against the wild-card team that was not chosen by a division winner.
â¢ Once the clashes are established, the top-ranked teams would host all three games in a best-of-three wildcard round.
â¢ The wildcard round winners would advance to the Division Series and the playoffs would continue as in the past.
The MLB also came up with a draft lottery system that would give every team that misses the playoffs a chance to get the overall No. 1 pick in the draft, similar to what the NHL and NBA are already doing:
The league offers a system where all non-playoff teams would have a chance of being chosen No.1 – not just the team with the worst record. The worst team would always have better chances than the second worst team, and so on, but in theory any non-playoff team could end up with a top three pick.
The lottery would only be for picks one to three, and then the draft would continue as in the past, based on the regular season record. Playoff teams would choose based on how they finished the playoffs. The winner of the World Series would choose the last.
Both parts of this proposal could help solve part of MLB’s competition problem.
As the rules are now, teams are practically encouraged to fight for a top pick when not in the competition phase. By doing this, they end up costing veteran players jobs and reducing overall player salaries.
An expanded format with no guaranteed chance of getting a top-three draft pick could encourage more clubs to be more aggressive as they stay on the hunt for October baseball.
As it stands, 10 teams qualify for the playoffs under current MLB rules, so extending it to 14 would increase each team’s odds. This would make it more appealing for each team to at least try to finish around .500.
On the other hand, it could also cause teams to spend less money, as the bar to qualify for the playoffs would be lowered.
If that happened, it would defeat MLBPA’s goal of fairer compensation, as an expanded playoff format would bring more revenue to the sport.
This proposal is not the solution to the problems, but it seems to take a bigger step than previous MLB proposals.
Manfred: ‘offseason lockdown’ different from ‘labor dispute’ for MLB
While the league has not been forced to impose a lockout, they have made it clear they believe it is necessary.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred argued that an offseason lockdown that brings them closer to a deal is different from a labor dispute that costs games, and asked why fans don’t understand that .
However, Manfred is unaware that most fans don’t want the season to be compromised or to wait any longer for their teams to make off-season moves for whatever reason.
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