Contrary to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred previously saying he expects spring training to begin on time and a full 162-game season, it looks like there is a change of plans. Last week, the state of Arizona asked to delay the start of Cactus League spring camps. Now Major League Baseball may be in for a delayed start after proposing a 154-game season, with an expanded postseason and universal designated hitter.
The proposal includes eight games less than a typical regular season beginning a month later but would include full-pay for players. The player salaries would also be a month delayed but extended a week later.
This part of the proposal seems like a win for both team owners as well as the players. The union gets a full season worth of salary, and MLB owners get the closest thing to a full regular season. The delayed start also gives a possibility for fans (real human beings) in attendance as well.
Angels: The MLB proposal for a delayed season with expanded playoffs is one the Players Association will need to approve.
Where the disagreements for this proposal comes in is the expanded playoffs. This would include 14 teams, with the highest seed in each league receiving a first-round bye.
MLB Insider Joel Sherman says players do not like this because it would mean teams would not have to be as competitive if winning few games means making the playoffs. This, in turn, would lead to teams not competing financially for certain players.
Rather than an expanded postseason, ESPN Insider Buster Olney has reported the players are considering having the universal DH, but not the expanded playoffs. Having a DH in both leagues would mean teams spending more money on certain players, so the favoritism towards that rule is certainly understandable.
The expanded postseason could benefit a team like the Angels, who are on the brink of playoff contention with their current roster. If anything, this new playoff stucture should further emphasize the importance of building a contender. As we know, in playoff baseball once you’re in, anything can and will happen.
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Unfortunately, not every team owner is going to see it this way, so even if the playoffs are expanded, you will still see teams rebuilding and not increasing their payroll. I would not be surprised if Angels owner Arte Moreno puts a hold on transactions for the remainder of the offseason until these details are sorted out.