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Would proposed MLB playoff format change make league better?

A new playoff format is again being floated during collective bargaining talks, something MLB has wanted for years.

IRVING, Texas — All signs out of Texas are pointing to the first work stoppage in Major League Baseball since the mid-1990s as the clock ticks on collective bargaining talks.

Reports indicated on Tuesday that a meeting between the owners' side and the players' side concluded after 30 minutes, likely narrowing a chance for the two sides to agree on a new CBA before the 11:59 p.m. deadline on Dec. 1.

Among many items and issues being discussed and addressed at the meetings includes an increased playoff format. 

It's something baseball and its owners have sought for years as it will increase revenue. The proposal is for a 14-team playoff format, rather than 10 teams, according to a report from ESPN's Jesse Rogers.

This is the setup:

  • Seven teams from each league make postseason.
  • Teams with best record in each league get wild card round byes.
  • Two other division winners and top wild card team host full three-game series in wild card round.
  • Two other division winners get to pick their wild card round opponents from three other wild card teams.
  • Three series winners and team with a bye advance to divisional round.

On Tuesday's Locked On Today podcast, host Peter Bukowski and Locked On Astros host Brett Chancey talked about the proposed format. 

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"The proposed change to the playoff format in Major League Baseball could actually do the unthinkable," Bukowski said on Locked On Today. "It could make it more fun. Not just expanding it, but allowing the No. 1 seed to have a bye, and the chance to pick a playoff opponent."

Chancey said if you set up the format for this previous season, the playoffs would have been improved.

"The Padres would have made it in, the Blue Jays would have made it in. It would have been interesting," Chancey said. "We talked on Locked On Astros about the one team that we didn't want to face was the Toronto Blue Jays...My question is what do the players think about this."

According to Rogers' report, there's mixed feelings from the players' side, as some believe the new format de-incentivizes teams from spending and pushing for wins, since teams at .500 or below could end up making the playoffs. But, Rogers report the owners side thinks it the bye for the top seed and top seeds picking their opponents will make teams more aggressive in the offseason and during the season.

Either way, it's likely we won't get a decision on the increased playoff format for a little while, as expectations are that a deal will not be put in place by the end of the night on Wednesday. The two sides are reportedly likely to meet again before that deadline, however.

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