Bud Selig and Major League Baseball have approved a deal that will add an extra Wild Card team to the postseason, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Sources: Additional Wild Cards a "go" for this season. Playoffs to expand from eight to 10 teams. Announcement tomorrow. #MLB— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 29, 2012
This was one of the biggest potential changes that we heard about when the owners and players union agreed to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement last year, and the final details finally got worked out to make it happen.
What It Means
According to a report last week from BizofBaseball.com, the new format will feature a one-game playoff between the two Wild Card teams. The winner of that game will then move to the Division Series round.
This adds an extra wrinkle to the postseason, for better and worse. One of the great things about the end of the 2011 season was all the games with playoff implications on the final day of the season. An extra Wild Card team wiped that drama out.
On the positive side, it does keep more teams in the race, and that will add more revenue to the franchise and the sport as a whole.
What Happens Next?
Now all we do is just play the games.
Selig has wanted to add an extra Wild Card team for months. It looks like he will finally get his wish, and we can focus on the games that are getting ready to start in a short time.
It will be interesting to see just how teams approach the trade deadline now with two Wild Cards. If you are 10 games out of the first Wild Card spot, odds are good you will be a seller.
But if you are just five or six games behind the second Wild Card team, you are more tempted to make a run for it.