MLB Wild Card: 5 Teams That Will Love the New Wild Card Slot in Both Leagues
Major League Baseball has announced that they plan to expand the current playoff system by adding an additional wild card team in each league.
Two wild card teams would play in a one game playoff before advancing to play the league's No. 1 seed.
The announcement is great news for the game of baseball in general, and it's especially great news for a few up-and-coming teams along with teams mired in ultra competitive divisions.
Let's take a closer look at exactly which teams will benefit most from the new move.
1. The Entire AL East
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Nobody benefits more from the expanded playoff system than teams like the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles.
The unfair spending balance in the AL East gives the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox a considerable advantage over everybody in baseball.
It's bad on that basic level, but the fact that they are both in the same division essentially eliminates the rest of teams in their division from postseason play before the first pitch of every season.
Tampa Bay has beaten the odds the past few seasons, but that's not likely to happen on a consistent basis.
The additional playoff spot ensures the Blue Jays, Orioles, and Rays the chance to make the playoffs even if both the Red Sox and Yankees win 95-100 games each.
2. Kansas City Royals
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The Kansas City Royals are a team on the rise.
They've been bad for over 20 years and it appears that they are on the brink of something special.
The Royals aren't likely to win the required 90-95 games that it would take to win the AL Central Division title. However, they could easily win 80-85 games and that is where this extra wild card spot is likely to fall.
This gives a young team with a great future a much better shot at gaining early postseason experience.
3. Washington Nationals
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The Washington Nationals are in similar situation as the Royals. While it's highly unlikely they can win the NL East next season, they could easily get hot and grab the last wild card spot.
How much would you pay to watch a do or die playoff game with Stephen Strasburg battling Tim Lincecum for a chance to reach the divisional series?
4. Cincinnati Reds
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The Cincinnati Reds had a frustrating 2011 season, but there is no doubt that they have the talent to compete for the postseason in 2012.
The return of the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals, a retooled Milwaukee Brewers franchise, and a likely improved Chicago Cubs team will make the NL Central a hotly contested division.
The Reds can't outspend the Cubs, and the Cardinals and Brewers proved superior in 2011. However, the additional wild card gives them the chance to have a slight improvement over their 2011 season and still make the playoffs.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks
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The Arizona Diamondbacks had an amazing run in 2011, but everything about it felt like a one time occurrence.
The San Francisco Giants are likely to be very improved in 2012 and the Colorado Rockies are a team on the rise.
The Diamondbacks aren't likely to repeat their success from last season, but a slight dip could put them in position for the No. 1 wild card spot.