The start of the Major League baseball season has been delayed indefinitely and the prospect of a prolonged lockout looms on the horizon. It doesn’t sound like the owners ever had any intention of reaching an agreement with the players, which is disappointing but not surprising.
There are a few things we can take away from the recent negotiations for gambling purposes and one of those is that when MLB does come back, whenever that may be, we are going to see an expanded playoff between 12 and 14 teams.
An expanded playoff very much benefits management as more playoff teams dis-incentives winning as teams know they can still make the playoffs with 81-83 wins. You don’t have to try and spend extra on free agents to put you over the top when you know a playoff spot is attainable with a low 80s win total.
This will lead to some interesting team building strategies, a MLB team’s entire season now likely comes down to a best-of-three series, which would give teams with rotations like the Mets with Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom at the top significant advantages (at least in the first round).
The only way for the MLBPA to establish real change at this point is by missing a lot of games. I am skeptical that a lot of players can afford to miss an entire season of income, which will likely force the union back to the negotiation table sooner than later.