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MLB to discuss playoff format; no global changes expected in near future, says Commish

The Atlanta Braves won 104 games during the regular season. The Los Angeles Dodgers finished the season leading the NL West division with 100 wins. However, both teams were eliminated from the Division Series playoffs.

The Baltimore Orioles recorded 101 wins and won the AL East title, but they were swept in the Division Series after a first-round bye.

The Arizona Diamondbacks won 84 games this year and qualified for the playoffs via wild card. Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers finished second in the AL West and were also a wild card team. Both teams qualified for the World Series.

Major League Baseball changed its postseason format ahead of the 2022 postseason as part of a multi-year collective bargaining agreement with the players’ association. As a result, the playoffs were expanded from 10 teams to 12.


A general view of the MLB playoff logo on the field during Game 3 of the Division Series between the Houston Astros and the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on October 10, 2023, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the league will review the playoff format but is in no rush to implement any significant changes.

“It will at least motivate a conversation about whether we’re right,” Manfred said Friday before the World Series opener. “I’m sure that conversation will happen (after) the playoffs. There’s been enough written and said that we need to think about it and talk about it. But again, my opinion is that the format has served us pretty well.”

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MLB proposed expanding the playoffs to 14 teams, but the union refused to accept it. If 14 teams had made this year’s playoffs, the Chicago Cubs would have qualified as a wild-card team.

“We went into this negotiation thinking the system wasn’t broken. We liked all 10 teams,” said union president Tony Clark, speaking about an hour before Manfred.

    Rob Manfred speaks to the media

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to the media before a game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the San Francisco Giants at American Family Field on May 25, 2023, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

There has also been talk of expanding the division series to the best-of-seven, but the league is reluctant to extend the playoffs into November.

“We have made proposals in the past for shorter seasons,” Clark said. “They weren’t necessarily against the backdrop of expanded playoffs, but nonetheless shorter seasons, whether it was 162 games, 158 games, 154 games.”

MLB playoff logo

The playoff logo is seen before Game 1 of the Wild Card Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on October 3, 2023, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

After the playoffs were added, 15 teams with their league’s best records won the World Series from 1969 to 1993, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. After the introduction of a second round of playoffs, only six clubs with the highest score in their league won the title between 1995 and 2011, and six have won it all since wild card play began in 2012.


“If the die was cast, it’s true, that if I win 100 in the regular season, I’ll win the World Series. I don’t think that’s as interesting as what we’re looking at. We attended last month,” Manfred said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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