CLEVELAND — It has been an interesting offseason for Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred, and it got a little bit more intense when The New York Post reported Monday that there could be changes made to the postseason format.
Reports of the proposed changes to the MLB playoffs did not go over well in clubhouses around the league, with former Cleveland Indians and current Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer being the most vocal of the critics.
“No idea who made this new playoff format proposal, but Rob is responsible for releasing it, so I’ll direct this to you, Rob Manfred,” Bauer wrote on Twitter. “Your proposal is absurd for too many reasons to type on Twitter and proves you have absolutely no clue about baseball.
“You’re a joke.”
The proposal includes expansion from 10 to 14 teams with the division winner with the best record getting a bye into the Division Series and the second-best team getting to choose its wildcard opponent in a televised “selection show.” The lowest seed among division winners would get the other wildcard opponent.
The first-round series would be a best-two-out-of-three played entirely at the higher-seeded team’s ballpark.
Under the current format, the two wildcard teams compete in a one-game playoff with the winner advancing to face the No. 1 seed in either league in the Division Series. The second and third-best division winners play in the best-of-five Division Series with the higher seed hosting Games 1, 2 and 5 (if necessary) and the lower hosting Games 3 and 4 (if necessary).
Although Bauer and some of his fellow players were outspoken on the changes, notable baseball writers view it as a way to grow interest in the game and prevents teams from trying to lose.
“The more that I think about the proposed changes to the playoff format, the more they make sense,” ESPN’s Buster Olney posted to Twitter. “It’s an anti-tanking device, giving more reasons for teams to spend money and push for a playoff berth, more October hope for players, fans.
“It could reduce the standings polarization.”