Major League Baseball and the MLBPA finally reached an agreement. We are getting a full 2022 season, albeit with some significant changes.
One such alteration is the increase from 10 to 12 playoff teams. There’s an extra postseason berth in each league. Two more semi-competitive teams will get a shot at the World Series, which will inevitably impact the markets on Sidelines.io sports betting odds comparison. Middle of the pack franchises are likely to have a shorter price than they would have if the 10-team format remained.
Expanding the postseason isn’t universally popular. It risks diluting an already marathon regular season. It could make owners settle for mediocrity even more than they already do.
Still, the playoffs are fun and more teams experiencing that should be good. Here are three teams set to benefit from the extra playoff spots.
San Diego Padres
After all the hype and expectation ahead of 2021, the Padres finished below .500 and nowhere near the Giants and Dodgers. It’s hard to project how good San Francisco will be in 2022, but it’s clear that the Padres are still a distance between Los Angeles.
Their rotation underwhelmed. The Eric Hosmer contract has weighed them down. Injuries are a concern for Fernando Tatis Jr.
It would be a surprise if the Friars are under .500 again, and they could get towards the 90-win mark, but it’s very unlikely they win the division. An extra wildcard spot could be invaluable, particularly if the Giants are anywhere near as competitive as they were in 2021.
Philadelphia is unlikely to be as good as the Mets or Braves. The franchise is stuck in purgatory, locked into the .500 bubble. Their 82-80 record in 2021 was their best in a decade, but that was a long way from legitimate wildcard contention last season.
With the new postseason format, though, the Phillies would have been just a game out of the playoffs last season. Being a 90-win team seems unrealistic with the strength of their division even if they spend heavily in the remaining days of free agency but getting to 83 or 84 is feasible.
Much like San Diego, Philadelphia was the recipient of much hysteria as they spent heavily on the way out of a rebuild. All the talk is yet to translate to on-field success – could the playoff format change that?
Toronto Blue Jays
It was a near miss for the Blue Jays last season. Toronto won 91 games yet finished fourth in the American League East.
Projections for 2022 are more favorable. Most expect the Jays to be better than Boston. They should be at least as good as the Yankees. The Rays, though, will be in contention once again. There might be no clear juggernaut like the NL West, but the AL East is as competitive as it gets.
Toronto will hope its new-look rotation and young core can power it to division titles. It will never be straight forward in the AL East, however, and the additional insurance policy of the wildcard could prove beneficial.