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MLB Postseason Expands to 10 Teams: How Does This Affect Your Team's Chances?

John AltamuraContributor IIMay 29, 2016

MLB Postseason Expands to 10 Teams: How Does This Affect Your Team's Chances?

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    It’s been a little over a week since Major League Baseball announced it would be adding an additional wild card team to each league at the conclusion of the 2012 season.

    How will this change affect the MLB landscape? Is history a good barometer of being able to determine which teams will benefit most from this change? Or do you just throw the record books out the window and analyze each team on a year-to-year basis? I think it is safe to say the new system will create opportunities for teams that would otherwise be left out of the postseason fray.   

    Let's examine how the added wild card will affect the postseason chances for each MLB team.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Record during wild card era (1998-2011): 1,129-1,139 .498 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: five (1999, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2011)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: none

    The greatest moment in Arizona Diamondbacks history came on a cool November night in 2001 against the New York Yankees. With the World Series tied at three games apiece, the Diamondbacks found themselves trailing the Yankees 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning.

    They faced what seemed to be an invincible foe: Mariano Rivera, who had only blown one postseason save in his career to that point. A single, a throwing error and a bloop would provide great theater, as the Diamondbacks would end the Yankees' dynasty and win their first world championship.

    Will the added wild card help the Diamondbacks postseason chances? Yes

    It's been a decade since Luis Gonzales dashed the hopes of Yankees fans. Arizona has been competitive at times during the last 10 years, with three postseason appearances during that span. Their best non-playoff season finish was in 2000, when they finished 85-77. Historical trends indicate Arizona tends to have one good season followed up by one or two subpar seasons in a row. The added wild card should help Arizona if they have another strong season. 

Atlanta Braves

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,636-1,212 .575 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: 12 (1995-2005, 2010)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: one (2011)

    The Atlanta Braves rose from the proverbial ashes of mediocrity to become one of the most dominant MLB teams of the last 20 years. Their rise to prominence began with the hiring of Bobby Cox after the 1990 season. His guidance, coupled with the emergence of pitchers Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Steve Avery, would propel Atlanta to their first and only World Series win in 1995.

    The Braves set a major league record by making the postseason in 14 consecutive seasons (1991-2005). Some believe the Braves would have won several championships if it wasn't for the New York Yankees, who also peaked during this same time period. 

    Will the added wild card help the Braves postseason chances? Yes

    If you were going to base the Braves' chances on their consecutive postseason appearance streak, you could make a strong case for the wild card helping their chances. The only problem with that is that the NL landscape has changed since 2005 and the Braves face stiffer competition from within their own division.

    Still, the Braves have put together two strong seasons in a row and if you were going to base their chances on recent history, you'd have to give them a good shot.

Baltimore Orioles

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,310-1,536 .462 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: two (1996, 1997)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: none

    It's been a long winter for Baltimore Orioles fans.

    The Orioles have not been to the playoffs or posted a winning record since the 1997 season. To put that stat into proper perspective, the last time the Orioles were in the playoffs, Bill Clinton was in the White House and Andrew Luck was eight years old.

    Many blame the 15-year hibernation by the birds on the competitive nature of the AL East. Others blame the front office and owner Peter Angelos for failing to place a winning product on the field. Whatever the case may be, the Orioles will need to improve on their .462 winning percentage during the wild card era in order to have a chance at postseason glory. 

    Will the added wild card help the Orioles postseason chances? No

    The Orioles need to figure out a way to finish a season above .500 before they can even think about the playoffs.

Boston Red Sox

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,588-1,262 .556 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: nine (1995, 1998-99, 2003-05, 2007-09)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: three (2002*, 2010, 2011)

    *tie with SEA

    The Boston Red Sox accomplished several things by winning the World Series in 2004. They answered the prayers of Red Sox nation, who had suffered through 86 years of agony. They ended the "Curse of the Bambino" in spectacular fashion by overcoming a 3-0 ALCS deficit and defeating the Yankees.

    Most importantly, their victory allowed lifelong Red Sox fan Fred Hale the chance to finally rest in peace. Hale passed away a month after the Boston victory at the ripe young age of 113.  

    Will the added wild card help Boston's postseason chances? Yes

    Boston has been a very consistent team during the wild card era. They have nine postseason appearances and two world championships. The added wild card will give the Red Sox another postseason slot to play with. Ideally, the Red Sox would rather win the AL East, but the added wild card bodes well for a team that has averaged 93 wins per year over the past decade.

Chicago Cubs

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,376-1,472 .483 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: four (1998, 2003, 2007-08)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: none

    The Chicago Cubs made a big splash this past offseason by bringing in former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. The Cubs hope that Epstein will be able to recreate the same winning formula that ended the 86-year long Red Sox championship drought.

    Will the added wild card help the Cubs postseason chances? No

    The extra wild card will help the Cubs only if they can find some sort of consistency. The Cubs have not been a very consistent team over the past decade, as they have missed the playoffs in seven out of ten seasons. If Epstein can bring some consistency to the North Siders then the above answer may change, but as its stands right now the Cubs are not ready to contend.

Chicago White Sox

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,479-1,369 .520 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: three (2000, 2005, 2008)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: one (2006)

    The Chicago White Sox ended their championship drought in 2005 by defeating the Houston Astros in the World Series. Many credit the very popular but often controversial Ozzie Guillen for the Series win.

    The White Sox now embark on a new chapter in their 111-year history as Robin Ventura takes over the reigns from Guillen, who left the team for the Miami Marlins this past offseason.

    Will the added wild card help the White Sox postseason chances? No

    The White Sox are in the midst of a rebuilding period so the new wild card shouldn't be much of a factor in the foreseeable future.

Cincinnati Reds

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,402-1,449 .494 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: two (1995, 2010)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: one (1999)

    The 1990 Cincinnati Reds were a classic underdog story. The Reds were not expected to win against the two-time defending AL champion Oakland A's. However, timely hitting and the bullpen trio of Randy Myers, Norm Charlton and Rob Dibble—collectively known as the "Nasty Boys"—led to the improbable series sweep.

    The "Nasty Boys" would soon disband, and the Reds would enter the wild card era with a new team leader: future Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin. He would remain a mainstay with Reds until his retirement at the end of the 2004 season.

    Will the added wild card help or hurt the Reds postseason chances? No

    The Reds have been playoff bystanders for much of the past two decades. Their best season by far was in 1999, when they finished with a 96-67 record. Coincidentally enough, that season they lost a one game regular season playoff to the New York Mets, who would have been their wild card opponent under the new system.

    Cincinnati needs to find regular season consistency before they can even think about chasing down one of the two wild card spots.

Cleveland Indians

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,502-1,345 .530 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: seven (1995-99, 2001, 2007)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: two (2000, 2005)

    The Cleveland Indians were one of the most dominant teams in the American League during the 1990's. The Tribe boasted an impressive lineup of stars ranging from Kenny Lofton to Manny Ramirez. Cleveland would capture two American League pennants in the 1990's but would fall short of their ultimate goal: a world championship.

    Will the added wild card help the Indians postseason chances? No

    The Indians have one playoff appearance in the past five seasons. Their best season was in 2007, when they lost to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. The Tribe needs to find a winning formula before they can consider the postseason.

Colorado Rockies

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,370-1,484 .480 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: three (1995, 2007, 2009)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: none

    There used to be a time in MLB history when fans living in the Mountain time zone would have to travel hours to Kansas City in order watch professional baseball games. This all changed in 1993 when MLB added the Colorado Rockies to the National League.

    The Rockies have been around for almost two decades now and have had limited success. Their best season came in 2007, when they made their first and only appearance in the World Series. They lost to the Boston Red Sox 4-0.

    Will the added wild card help the Rockies postseason chances? No

    The current Colorado team will have to rely on stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez to carry the offense. The real problem for Colorado rests with starting pitching. Until they can secure some strong arms, it’s going to be hard for them to contend. So the extra wild card is pretty much a non-factor for the Rockies at this point in time. 

Detroit Tigers

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,284-1,566 .450 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: two (2006, 2011)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: one (2007*)

    *tie with SEA

    The Detroit Tigers have been a much better team in recent years. After recording the worst record in American League history in 2003 at 43-119, the Tigers rebounded and made an improbable run to the World Series in 2006. The Tigers are anchored by Justin Verlander and are hoping the newly-acquired Prince Fielder will help them return to the World Series.

    Will the added wild card help the Tigers postseason chances? Yes

    The Tigers' best season during the wild card era came in 1996, when they made the World Series. Unfortunately they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 4-1. It seems that Tigers owner Mike Illich is willing to spend more money, which bodes well for their postseason chances.

Houston Astros

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,474-1,379 .517 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: six (1997-99, 2001, 2004-05)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: two (1995, 2003)

    The Houston Astros will be moving to the AL West in 2013. This will create an interstate rivalry between the Astros and the Texas Rangers. This will also pose a challenge for Houston, as they will have to get used the new DH rules, new rivalries and a new league. This will certainly be difficult for a team that finished 56-106 in 2011.  

    Will the added wild card help the Astros postseason chances? No

    Houston has been competitive at times during the wild card era. Their best year by far was in 2005, when they reached the World Series. It seems however they are in rebuilding mode at the moment and will not be able to contend for either new spot in the foreseeable future.

Kansas City Royals

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,222-1,625 .432 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: none

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: none

    It’s been over 20 years since the likes of George Brett, Frank White and Brett Saberhagen ruled the nation's bread basket. The Royals have been stuck in baseball neutral, as they have not had a winning season since 2003.

    Will the added wild card help the Royals postseason chances? No

    The new playoff changes will not help the Kansas City Royals—at least not right away. There is hope for Royals fans, as they have been stockpiling talent due to their high draft order. Players like 2011 All-star Aaron Crow and youngsters Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Salvador Perez promise to bring excitement back to Kauffman Stadium.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,500-1,351 .524 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: six (2002, 2004-05, 2007-09)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: one (1995)

    The worst moment In Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim history came in 1995, when they squandered an 11-game lead to the Seattle Mariners. The final blow came in the AL West tie-breaker game, when they were drubbed by the Mariners 9-1.

    Ironically enough, if the new playoff system was in place at the time they would have made the playoffs and played the New York Yankees in the wild card round.

    Will the added wild card help the Angels postseason chances? Yes

    Artie Moreno is fast becoming the west coast version of the late George Steinbrenner. The Angels made the biggest free agent splash this past offseason by signing free agent Albert Pujois.

    It seems the Angels are ready to embrace the new playoff system with open arms—and checkbooks. The added wild card will benefit Los Angeles, as it opens up another spot to be taken. No longer will the Angels have to beat out the likes of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox’s to secure just one final wild card spot.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,498-1,351 .526 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: six (1995-96, 2004, 2006, 2008-09)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: three (1997*, 2000, 2002)

    *tie with New York Mets

    The ownership situation with the Los Angeles Dodgers has cast a thick smog over the hopes of the franchise. As the bidding process for ownership of the club continues, a young core of players led by 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw and NL MVP contender Matt Kemp hope to restore some stability to the club. 

    Will the added wild card help the Dodgers postseason chances? No

    Statistically speaking, the Los Angeles Dodgers would have benefited greatly from the new playoff rules if they were implemented in 1994. They would have qualified for the playoffs three times during that span.

    The only concern—a big one—the Dodgers have at the moment is the current ownership situation. Until the league settles on a buyer, it seems the Dodgers will be sitting on the sidelines during free agency. This doesn’t bode well for their postseason hopes.

Miami Marlins

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,371-1,477 .481 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: two (1997, 2003)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: none

    Major league baseball wanted to expand into the South Florida market for years and finally got their wish in 1993 with the expansion Florida Marlins. It didn't take long for the Marlins to capture their first championship, as they would win it all in 1997.

    After a post championship fire sale, the Marlins toiled in mediocrity for a few years until they made another improbable championship run in 2003. The Marlins now are poised for another championship pursuit under new manager Ozzie Guillen and with stars Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez.

    Will the added wild card help the Marlins postseason chances? Yes

    Marlins have been an interesting case, as they have a .481 winning percentage during the wild card era but have managed to win two world championships. It’s hard to predict whether or not Miami will be in the running for the new playoff spot. Historical trends indicate no, but the new ballpark should encourage ownership to spend more.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,338-1,510 .470 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: two (2008, 2011)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: none

    Did you know that Bud Selig used to be a car salesman?

    Before bringing the Seattle Pilots to Milwaukee, Selig was a car salesman with a minority stake in the Milwaukee Braves. When the Braves bolted to Atlanta in 1966, Selig was looking for a team to fill the void left in Milwaukee. He finally was successful and relocated the Pilots to Milwaukee, where they would join the American League in 1970. The Brewers would be a part of the league until switching to the National League in 1998.

    Will the added wild card help the Brewers postseason chances? Yes

    The small market Brewers face the same dilemma as many other teams with their same demographic face—how much is enough to spend to have a shot at the postseason? The Brewers have been competitive in the last five years and play in a very winnable NL Central.

    These two factors should bode well for them as they seek the new wild card. The real question is how long can Milwaukee sustain this consistency? If they can, the added playoff spot may just be what the doctor ordered.

Minnesota Twins

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,408-1,440 .493 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: six (2002-04, 2006, 2009-10)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: one (2001)

    The Minnesota Twins had a down year in 2011, when they finished with a 63-99 record. The Ron Gardenhire regime has been successful at times, as he has guided the Twins to six postseason appearances. Gardenhire and company are still seeking their third world championship and hope the additional wild card will make it happen much sooner than later.

    Will the added wild card help the Twins postseason chances? No

    The added wild card would have helped the Twins a decade ago. Minnesota averaged 91 wins per season from 2002-06. There just too many question marks with the current Twins team to be able to say they will be in the running for a wild card spot.

New York Mets

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,439-1,409 .505 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: three (1999-00, 2006)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: one (2008)

    The New York Mets lost their franchise shortstop this past offseason, as Jose Reyes decided to take his talents to South Beach. New York has been in a prolonged down period where they have been a playoff bystander since 2006. Coupled with their on the field play, the Mets ownership group led by Fred Wilpon has suffered through their own series of setbacks—most notably being sued for millions by those who were exposed to the Bernie Madoff scandal.

    Will the added wild card help the Mets postseason chances? No

    The Mets are still trying to recapture the hearts and imaginations of New Yorkers. The Mets are in a very competitive NL East, where the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies rule. The new wild card format will help the Mets if they decide to return to their large market ways, which doesn’t seem likely at this point in time.

New York Yankees

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,706-1,139 .600 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: 16 (1995-07, 2009-11)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: one (2008)

    The New York Yankees have been the most consistent team during the wild card era. They have been to the playoffs 16 out of 18 years and have won five world championships over that span.

    The core group of Yankees—the "Core Four" as commonly called by the media—is led by Derek Jeter. Two of the four have since retired (Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada), and there are some people who think the 2012 season will be the last for Mariano Rivera. The newly added wild card should provide added opportunities for Jeter, who is entering the twilight of his career.

    Will the added wild card help the Yankees postseason chances? Yes

    It's hard to argue against the fact the newly added wild card will not benefit the Yankees. Expect more postseason games in the Bronx, much to the chagrin of those living outside the New York area.

Oakland Athletics

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,467-1,381 .514 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: four (2000-03, 2006)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: two (1999, 2004)

    The Oakland A’s reached the pinnacle of their success in the early 2000’s during a time period portrayed in the 2011 film “Moneyball." Oakland has been absent from the playoffs for half a decade now, and you have to wonder whether or not the player evaluation methods used by Billy Beane and company are still effective.

    Will the added wild card help the A's postseason chances? No

    The A's have averaged 76 wins over the past five seasons. With added competition within division from the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim—plus the always strong AL East—it's hard to imagine this being a good thing for Oakland.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,459-1,391 .511 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: five (2007-11)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: two (2005-06)

    The Philadelphia Phillies have taken a page out of Rocky Balboa's book and fought their way to the top of the National League. Their ascent to the top of the league began in 2003, when they posted a 86-76 record. They reached the top of the championship mountain in 2008 by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series.

    Will the added wild card help the Phillies postseason chances? Yes

    The Phillies have been a consistent force in the National League during the last five years. With one world championship and five straight playoff appearances, the arrival of the new wild card should enhance their postseason chances.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,220-1,626 .429 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: none

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: none

    The Pittsburgh Pirates are a proud franchise with a long and storied history. It seems as though history has forgotten the Pirates, as they have been absent from the playoff discussion for more than 20 years.

    The last time the Bucs were competitive was in 1992, when they posted a 96-66 record. That team had a cast of stars anchored by starting pitcher Doug Drabek and All-star outfielders Bobby Bonilla and Barry Bonds. Unfortunately free agency decimated the Pirates, and they have not been able to recover.

    Will the added wild card help the Pirates postseason chances? No

    The new playoff system will not benefit the Pirates in their current form. Continued development by stars such as Andrew McCutchen will be needed to change things around.

San Diego Padres

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,386-1,468 .484 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: four (1996, 1998, 2005-06)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: two (2007, 2010)

    The San Diego Padres have been to the World Series twice in their existence but were easily cast aside by two juggernauts: the 1984 Detroit Tigers and the 1998 New York Yankees. Arguably the Padres' greatest player, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, appeared in both series but ended his career a Padre and without a ring.

    Will the added wild card help the Padres chances? No

    The Padres would have benefited greatly from the new playoff system if it was in place in 1994. They would have qualified an additional two times during that span—twice in the last five years.

    In the highly competitive NL West, the Padres will need to replicate their earlier success in order to contend for the final playoff spot. They just haven't been consistent enough over the past decade to be considered a true threat.

San Francisco Giants

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,488-1,361 .521 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: five (1997, 2000, 2002-03, 2010)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: four (1998, 2001, 2004, 2009)

    The San Fransisco Giants ended their 56-year championship drought in 2010 by defeating the Texas Rangers in the World Series. The team was led by a colorful cast of characters, including the strange and oft-quoted Brian Wilson. Demeanor aside, Wilson has been a positive influence on the Giants bullpen, saving 84 games in two years.

    Will the added wild card help the Giants chances? Yes

    It seems the Giants would be one of the teams who benefit most from the changes to the playoffs. The Giants have made the playoffs five times during the wild card era and would have earned another four trips to the postseason based on the new system.

Seattle Mariners

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,423-1,424 .499 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: four (1995, 1997, 2000-01)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: four (1996, 2002-03*, 2007**)

    *tie with Bos in 2002 **tie with Det in 2007 

    The Seattle Mariners were one of the strongest teams during the first decade of the wild card era. Led by Ken Griffey Jr. and perennial All-stars Edgar Martinez and Alex Rodriguez, the Mariners qualified for the playoffs four times from 1995-2001.

    Their best season by far during this era was in 2001, when they posted a 116-46 record. They would lose in the ALCS to the New York Yankees.

    Will the added wild card help the Mariners postseason chances? No     

    The Mariner teams of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s would have benefited greatly if this new system was in place, tallying an additional four appearances. Unfortunately for Mariner fans, the Griffey Jr. years are long gone, and it will be tough for Seattle to replicate its prior success.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,523-1,324 .533 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: nine (1996, 2000-02, 2004-06, 2009, 2011)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: none

    St. Louis has been known during the wild card era as the gateway to the playoffs. The St. Louis Cardinals have been to the playoffs nine times and have captured two championships: 2006 and 2011, respectively. It will be interesting to see whether or not St. Louis can continue their postseason success now that Albert Pujois has left the team.

    Will the added wild card help the Cardinals postseason chances? No

    Recent history indicates the Cardinals seem to be really good or not good enough. They have not finished in the wild card runners-up spot once during the era. Based on the landscape of the National League, it would seem challenging for a team from the Central to secure the final wild card spot.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Record during wild card era (1998-2011): 1,013-1,252 .447 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: three (2008, 2010-11)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: none

    The Tampa Bay Rays should provide hope for the Kansas City Royals of the world, as they have recently changed around their fortunes. Prior to 2008, the Rays averaged a pathetic .399 winning percentage. Things have changed though, and now Tampa is considered one of the most consistent teams in the American League.

    Will the added wild card help the Rays postseason chances? Yes

    Being at the top of the league year in and year out will only benefit them. The new playoff system should provide opportunities for their first world championship.

Texas Rangers

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,438-1,412 .504 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: five (1996, 1998-99, 2010-11)

    Additional playoff appearances based on new system: one (2009)

    It seems the new ownership group under the watchful eye of Nolan Ryan has its sights set on a World Championship. The Texas Rangers have won the last two American League pennants and are poised to continue the trend.

    Will the added wild card help the Rangers postseason chances? Yes

    There are a couple of teams in the league that benefit from the added wild card. The Texas Rangers are one of those teams.

    A strong team in the late 1990’s, the Rangers took a decade long hiatus from the playoffs during the 2000’s. The Rangers have averaged 91 wins over the past three seasons. If they can continue this trend, it is safe to say they will continue to be in the playoff hunt.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,404-1,436 .492 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: none

    Additional playoff appearances: one (1998)

    The Toronto Blue Jays were one of the most consistent teams in Major League baseball prior to the advent of the wild card era. The Blue Jays won back-to-back championships in 1992-93 and have been not heard from since.

    Will the added wild card help the Blue Jays postseason chances? No

    The new playoff system would have given the Jays another postseason opportunity in 1998, but they have been a very average to below average team in the last decade. The new playoff system probably makes little or no difference to the Jays, as they are in a division with the likes of the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.

Washington Nationals

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    Record during wild card era (1994-2011): 1,299-1,549 .459 winning percentage

    Number of playoff appearances: none

    Additional playoff appearances: one (1996*)

    *as Montreal Expos

    Professional baseball made its return to Our Nation's Capital after a 34-year hiatus in 2005.  The Washington Nationals have not been successful to this point in their present incarnation. The Nationals have averaged 70 wins a season since their move from Montreal—not nearly good enough for wild card consideration.

    Will the added wild card help the Nationals postseason chances? No

    The Montreal Expos would have benefited from the new playoff rules, qualifying for the playoffs in 1996. Some may wonder whether or not the Expos would be still in Montreal if there wasn’t a players strike in 1994, when they finished with the best record in the major leagues. The Nationals play in a competitive NL East, which doesn't bode well for their chances.

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