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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Union holding up expanded MLB playoffs

When the new labor agreement between Major League Baseball players and management was announced amid great fanfare in November, a few loose ends yet remained to be tied down later.

One was the subject of the expansion of post-season play. For the first time since 1995, a change will be made to the playoff format. Starting no later than 2013, a second Wild Card will be added in each league, increasing the post-season pool to 10 of the 30 clubs.

The new format does not appreciably increase the length of the post-season since it consists of a simple one-game playoff between the two Wild Cards in each league. The winner of that game will advance to the regular Division Series.

Though this seems like a no-brainer in terms of implementation, the November announcement stated the question of whether it will go into effect in 2012 would be decided no later than March 1. With one month to go before the self-imposed deadline, the two sides have yet to concur.

Not surprisingly, MLB commissioner Bud Selig wants to get it done immediately.

“It’s pretty definite in my mind,” Selig told USA TODAY. “Teams are anxious. Clubs really want it.”

Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Players Association, is unsure it is feasible this year.

“The 2012 season was not designed to accommodate an extra round of playoffs,” Weiner told USA TODAY. “We’re having discussions to see if it can work. We’ll decide in the next month or so if we’re able to do it.”

Though Weiner was not specific, the concern seems to be the travel involved in the expanded post-season schedule. In addition to this one-game Wild Card play-in game, any division ties will reportedly also be decided on the field going forward. The potential scheduling impact of this change also has to be considered. Though not stated, revenue-sharing issues could also be present.

Given the considerable regular-season benefit of an additional team in the playoff hunt in each league, having fewer off-days during the post-season to fit in an extra game or two should not present a significant challenge. Nor should money be an insurmountable problem.

Here’s hoping the two sides resolve their differences, whatever they may be, and MLB begins the new playoff format this coming fall.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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23 Responses to “Union holding up expanded MLB playoffs”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    Nice photo, to show Bud and Mike so close and palsy walsy. They love to increase revenue and only wrestle over its distribution.

    Once the Cards traded Lefty Carlton because he wanted $20,000 in salary for one year. Nowadays, Albert trades himself in exchange for $246MM over 10 years. No wonder Weiner is looking happy.

  2. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Roy is a cowboy…………. he wants to join the Cardinals…….like Peco’s Bill would probably want to do if he were still playing……….. Roy and his Agent haven’t been paying much attention to Cardinal front office tactics of late…………………….. the Cardinals have suspended the market………in their enhanced market posture……….and are making money by doing it…………… K-mac has been on the block since they were forced to pay him……….. by making it appear that they are being squeezed by financial constraints, the Cardinals seem indecisive and a little bit vulnerable …………..this little limp slows down the KMac market, and also invites invitations from other GM’s to offer solutions to their quandary…. thats Westbrooke and Lohse of course………. Cards have all the time in the world ……… because this is just a marketing posture/devise ……….. what really happens to Roy is irrelevant …….. If Roy says “lets take the 5.5 Mel”…….. get on the phone and seal that deal ……… I bet no one answers ………….. just like if AP would have balked and said “give me the 5/130 on that fateful day …… Cards could have just sat on a firm offer to Roy…………. but that would have just given up the “play” in their position……………. bottom line////// Kmac as a long man…and a no. 6 in reserve is a pretty good value………….. considering whats sliding around out there …….shouldn’t be to hared to move him…….unless our asking price is a bit more than a salary bail…………………………. Texas seems determined to win a WS………. Angels have stacked one…………… they should be able to maul that division …..

    Oh yeah………….I’ve reinstated my “bench protocol” ……….. guess whose behind the water cooler …..

    • blingboy says:

      Mo must be working on one of those multi-team multi-player deals. Takes time.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      McClellan has done loyal work across 4 seasons, so we wanted to do the right thing and give him a fair salary, based on arbitration. This is good for him.
      Yet the staff is crowded, so Kyle also is a candidate for trade. We probably just want an A level minor leaguer and salary relief. During 2011, the Jays helped by providing cash and taking away the salaries of Trever Miller, a second ineffective loogy, and Rasmus, so salary relief seems a factor valued by GM of the Year, Mo.

    • CariocaCardinal says:

      I hadn’t realized someone held a gun to Mo’s head and “forced him to sign KMac.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Mo has to be true to his values.

      • T8Ball says:

        It was either tender him and try to get something in return, or let him walk and get nothing. It’s really that simple, but alas, so many choose to either ignore it, don’t know how the process works, or try and look at things through the eyes of Space Shuttles and Earthquakes in Turkey.

  3. blingboy says:

    The real reason the LDS round was added in 1994 was to allow for a wild card team to make the post-season. Why? Because the Yankees hadn’t made the playoffs for something like the last 12 years. So change the rules. It worked. In ’95 the Yankees were the first AL wild card team.

    Problem solved. More parity without that unsightly side effect.

    Boston hadn’t made the post-season very much in those 12 years either, adding to the problem, and of course, it had not even been possible for both Boston and the Yankees to both be in the playoffs. So it really was a brilliant move.

    But there are no such problems now. The impetus behind the expansion is not compelling.

    • Brian Walton says:

      The decision has already been made. The only open question is this year or next. If it does not occur in 2012, two clubs and their fans will be very angry for missing out. What if one was St. Louis?

      • Kansasbirdman says:

        Would the new arrangment make it harder for the Wild Card team to do well in their respective LDS? They would have a harder time getting thier pitching rotatin synced to be optimally effective and could tire a bullpen in an all or nothing game. IMHO it appears it would make it more advantageous to win one’s division with this new system

        • Brian Walton says:

          Of course. One secondary motivation may be to make it more difficult for the Wild Card teams, something I have personally been in favor of for a long time. At most getting just one more home game in recognition of winning one’s division is wrong, IMO, especially in a short series. While that won’t change here, at least the Wild Card will have to work harder to get there.

          • blingboy says:

            Theoretically, the WC team could fall into one of two catagories. The hard charger playing its best ball of the season, like the Cards. Or a late fader playing uninspired ball that just hangs on, like if the Braves would have just hung on.

            Assuming a hard charger is more likely to be among two WC teams than one, and making the reasonable assumption that the hard charger would tend to win the single game, then the two WC team format increases the chance the division winner will have to play a hard charger rather than a late fader.

            So while it does give the WC entrant one more hurdle, it may actually do more to reduce the chances of the division winner it faces.

  4. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    The tactical considerations for the 2 wild card teams could become very complex……….. lets say one possible WC team is just a game out and fighting for a division……… the other is 5 games back and cruising……… they set their rotation playing there ace for the playoff game slot………. the team in contention then has to make a decision……do they charge the leader “Cards style”……..of just fall back and set up for the playoff game………happy with the home field advantage…….. sure would have changed 2011………..

  5. T8Ball says:

    Edwin Jackson might take a 1 year deal instead of the 3 year offers he has at the moment? I read this off MLBtraderumors. Red Sox offered around 6 million for one year.

    1st thing that came to mind: This should give Lohse and Westbrook some major pause when thinking about next season and their future contracts. It might be more advantageous to get some sort of “sign and trade” done now, or in Westbrook’s case have an “exercise option and trade” done now. They are potentially playing with their future money. We might be exiting the age where perennial 4th and 5th starters get 4 year deals north of 10 AAV.

    I thought Jackson did enough with the Cards down the stretch, and a few playoff games to warrant a 4 year/40 million deal at the least.

  6. Kansasbirdman says:

    Well, in the morning I head to Texas to help rid them of thier feral hog problem. 🙂 Hopefully I will come back with some pork to smoke for this season’s games. I will try to keep informed on my phone, word is Roy is set to make a decision this week.

  7. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Jackson is young……….. he might wait till mid March……….find out who’s hurt………. Lohse and Westbrooke aren’t going anywhere………they are in the cat bird seat…….. both old enough…..and rich enough to rest if thats whats offered……….. the success they want comes from exploiting their positions……….. besides the Boras target on his back….Jackson has a few “rough edges”……..thats why he hasn’t signed……..he knows better than to look in St Louis………. he will get his chance somewhere….

  8. blingboy says:

    Miller, Patterson and Hendry all got jobs.

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