MLB and the MLBPA have re-opened talks on the possibility of expanded the playoff field for 2020, per Jon Heyman. Expanded playoffs were one of the things that both sides agreed to when negotiations were going on earlier this summer on resuming the season, but when an agreement failed to come together on a complete deal and MLB mplemented the schedule for 2020, expanded playoffs were not one of the things owners could include unilaterally.
With the season starting tomorrow night, though, and with summer camps having gone reasonably well once the July 4th testing fiasco was put behind them, Heyman says that there is optimism that the two sides will agree to a deal that would expand the playoff field to 16 teams.
With a shorter season, it makes sense to have more playoff teams, since the shorter the season, the more variability there is in results, and the less likely it is that the best teams will have the best records. Owners want expanded playoffs because there is more TV money that way, and potentially the ability to have at least some fans in seats. Players don’t really have a downside to agreeing — more playoff teams mean more players making the playoffs and getting playoff shares — but the rub is what the players will get for a concession that would generate more income for the owners.
Personally, under the circumstances, I’d love to see expanded playoffs in 2020, and my hope is a deal gets done to make that happen — and that MLB actually gets to play its full (truncated) season, with playoffs, without a health crisis forcing the season to be interrupted.