Update 7:00 p.m. ET: Commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed that the postseason will expand to 16 teams in 2020 during the telecast of the New York Yankees-Washington Nationals Game. The playoffs will begin with three game series, one in which the top seed will host all games.
As if everything about this MLB season wasn’t crazy enough, it appears as if there will be a last-minute implementation of expanded playoffs for the 2020 season.
According to ESPN’s Marly Rivera, the players’ union has approved the agreement discussed with MLB to expand the playoffs from 10 to 16 teams for the 2020 postseason only.
The agreement must be ratified by the owners before it becomes official.
By adding six more teams to the playoffs, it would mean three more wild card teams in each league and a four full rounds of postseason baseball.
The plan, per Wall Street Journal's Jared Diamond, is to have the first round be a best-of-three with the No. 1 seed playing the No. 8 seed and all games would be played at the better seed's home ballpark.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the idea of division winners choosing their opponents was also included in the discussions but it is unclear if that will be a part of the agreement.
Olney did report that the expansion would include division winners and the three second place teams in each division. The seventh and eighth place teams would be determined by best record.
Playoff expansion was broached during the contentious labor negotiations earlier this year between the players and owners, but the two sides ultimately could not reach an agreement on a number of issues.
It seemed as if MLB would continue with its regular playoff format, but talks to expand the postseason were revitalized this week with an effort to reach an agreement before the Yankees and Nationals began the season at 7 p.m. on Thursday.