Rob Manfred Unfazed By Playoff Format Despite Top Teams' Early Exits

Photo: Instagram/Rob Manfred

Rob Manfred, the MLB Commissioner, remains unfazed by the recent early exits of powerhouse teams like the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Dodgers from the playoffs, despite their impressive regular-season records exceeding 200 wins combined.

He emphasized that it's only been two years since the introduction of the 12-team postseason format in 2022. This new format grants top seeds a first-round bye, resulting in a five-day gap between the regular season's conclusion and the start of the playoffs for teams such as the NL's second-seeded Dodgers and the AL's top-seeded Orioles.

Manfred made it clear that any alterations to this format would require collective bargaining, with the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) set to expire on December 1, 2026. The Dodgers have experienced back-to-back postseason eliminations following the first-round bye, with a 3-1 NLDS loss to the San Diego Padres in 2022 and a recent sweep by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Photo: Instagram/Rob Manfred

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had previously discussed the challenge of the five-day break as both an obstacle for his team and a positive aspect for the league as a whole. He acknowledged the adjustment required, contrasting it with the shorter All-Star break.

This isn't the first time a dominant regular-season Dodgers team faced an unexpected first-round exit; the 2019 Dodgers, who won 106 games, were also eliminated in the division series.

While the Dodgers' pitching deficiencies and reliance on Clayton Kershaw played a significant role in their 2023 postseason struggles, the simultaneous sweep of the Orioles by the Texas Rangers and the series deficit of the favored Atlanta Braves against the Philadelphia Phillies draw attention to the impact of the league's playoff format on top teams.

Whether this will lead to a push for CBA updates in the next three years remains uncertain.

Source: Breacher Report 

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