MLB changes that could happen with draft, playoff
|Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 12:42 PM- -|
As the sports world continues to take a backseat to the global health and well-being of others, we are searching for any sort of hope to grab ahold of during this time. Even with all the health issues going on, owners, commissioners, and players alike are still working behind the scenes hoping to make things better for the future of their respective organizations.
Baseball is no different as Rob Manfred, and the MLBPA has reached the previously announced five-year CBA agreement that will take effect immediately following the expiration of the current deal. While there are several key details whenever a new CBA is reached, we will focus on the most important ones as we are on the verge of some significant changes in baseball.
First and foremost, comes changes in the current luxury tax threshold and how teams go about business. As of now, the luxury tax threshold is set to be 195 million but will rise to 210 and eventually 215 million for the deal. Also added with this was an indication that teams will be penalized 60-70% for those extremely over the threshold, which is generally with teams around 250 million-plus. With how close teams have operated around the tax in recent years, especially this offseason with the Cubs, it will be interesting to see how organizations operate throughout the deal.
A significant change deals with the draft and international draft. As for the international draft, which is something the Cubs have done very well with the past decade, it will not be part of the new CBA, and each team will be limited to either five or six million in international spending. That is important for the Cubs as they tend to be some of the biggest spenders in the international game.
Another new change we can expect comes with the draft process, as this is drawing mixed reviews as we speak. Under the terms of the new agreement, the Commission has been advised to decrease the draft from the current 40 rounds to as few as five for this year and will be given a chance to shorten it to 20 rounds starting in 2021.
This is significant as MLB is the only sport where someone could be drafted in the 35-40 round range, but could still end up being an MVP type of player. That is because of the minor league system and how a player develops as they are the only league with multiple stops in the development process. Also, in the draft terms for this season, players will only receive 100,000 of their bonuses this year, with the rest being paid out in 2021 and 2022.
The final proposed change has not been made official yet, but it could drastically reshape the way MLB is played. No, we are not talking about expansion at this time even though that has always been on the table, but as we heard over the weekend, MLB is looking to expand the playoffs from 10 to 14 teams or seven teams per league.
This change could potentially happen as early as 2022, and should this have been in effect a season ago, the Cubs would have been the No. 7 seed for the playoffs or playing to get that seven seed instead of missing the postseason. The way the format would shake out would be, you would have your three division winners in each league with four wild card teams to follow.
The team with the best record in each league would earn the lone by as they would automatically be in the Division Series. The remaining six teams would be facing off in a new proposed wild card format that would consist of three series per league. It would be a best of three-game series instead of the current winner take all format with the highest seed hosting the series in their venue. The No. 2 seed would have the choice to play either the fifth, sixth or seventh seed in the first round with the third seed having their choice between the remaining two and the fourth seed left with whoever was leftover.
No changes will be made to the rest of the postseason as the three winners from those series would advance to the Division series and be placed accordingly through their respective seeds or records in the best of five-game format. The two winners would then advance to the Championship series, followed by the World Series.
As much as I love how baseball changed the Wildcard format a few seasons ago, I always felt that it needed to be a best of three instead of a single game format. I have also been one to believe that every sport should adopt the same postseason format that the NHL and NBA have in place with no first-round byes put in place.
Yes, this is better now than what it was, but I think it should be eight teams on each side with the seeding going 1-8, 2-7,3-6, and 4-5. The first-round series could be best of three series, with the second-round best of five and then going to best of seven the remainder of the way. If they were to expand to eight teams in each league, I have a feeling that MLB would have to adopt a similar schedule to Minor League Baseball, where they play 140 games as opposed to 162 and end sometime in early to mid-September. The playoffs could start immediately after allowing two more weeks of postseason ball, and then the season would finish at the normal time.