According to reports, the MLBPA has rejected MLB’s proposal for a universal DH and expanded playoffs in 2021.
It’s not a complete surprise that the MLBPA rejected expanded playoffs, but it seemed that a universal DH was widely praised and would get approved. Both changes were first implemented in the shortened 2020 season.
If expanded playoffs were approved, the format from last season would remain the same. The top eight teams in each league would make it in, playing in a best-of-three Wild Card Series to advance to the DS. From there, the traditional playoff format would’ve continued.
The universal DH proposal was so pitchers would no longer have to hit, limiting injury risks and adding another competitive batter.
Having expanded playoffs and a universal DH may only stay out of play for one season. MLB’s CBA expires following the 2021 season, meaning serious negotiations between players and owners will occur next winter to avoid a lockout. Both expanded playoff and a universal DH could be included in the new CBA.
However, two rule changes from the 2020 season are expected to carry over into 2021. Seven-inning doubleheaders and the runner on second rule will likely stay at least one more season in Major League Baseball.
The goal of seven-inning doubleheaders is to reduce player fatigue throughout the season. By being on the field a little less, the proposal helps keep players fresher and makes the long day go faster. The runner on second rule is to start extra-innings with a runner on second base to speed up play. Whoever precedes the lead-off hitter in an inning will be the one starting on second base.
Like the universal DH and expanded playoffs, discussions on seven-inning doubleheaders and a runner on second will occur during the upcoming CBA negotiations.