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MLB notebook: Playoff changes reportedly in works

3 min read

MLB: World Series-Houston Astros at Washington Nationals

Major League Baseball is reportedly considering an expanded playoff scenario that includes more teams, a first-round bye and the ability of some teams to pick their opponents.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote Monday that MLB is “seriously weighing” the postseason overhaul, beginning in 2022.

Under the plan, the playoffs would be expanded from five to seven teams in each league. The team with the best record in each league would get a bye into the Division Series, while the two other division winners and the wild-card team with the best record would each host a best-of-three series against the bottom three wild-card teams.

The reality-show-style twist is that the division winner with the second-best record gets to pick which of the three-lowest wild cards it wants to play — and it would do so on a live Sunday night show that could be attractive to TV partners. The other division winner would then pick among the remaining two wild cards, leaving the remaining two wild-card teams to face each other.

–Outfielder Mookie Betts and left-hander David Price are finally heading to the Los Angeles Dodgers from the Boston Red Sox as part of a deal that was agreed upon Sunday. The trade was finalized after medical reviews.

The Dodgers will obtain Betts and Price, along with cash to help cover some of Price’s $96 million remaining salary, the Red Sox confirmed. The Red Sox will receive outfielder Alex Verdugo, along with two minor-leaguers — shortstop Jeter Downs and catcher Connor Wong.

The Dodgers also made a separate trade with Minnesota on Monday. Right-hander Kenta Maeda, catcher Jair Camargo and a reported $10 million went to the Twins in exchange for right-hander Brusdar Graterol, minor league outfielder Luke Raley and the 67th pick in the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft.

–Joc Pederson is not heading to the Los Angeles Angels. According to multiple media reports, the deal that would have sent the Dodgers outfielder to the American League fell through Sunday.

The Pederson trade was hung up for days, dependent on the Dodgers’ acquisition of Betts. But with that deal finalized, the expectation was Pederson would be sent to the Angels.

However, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Angels owner Arte Moreno wasn’t happy with the delay and canceled the deal, leaving Pederson with the Dodgers, at least for now.

–Former major league pitcher Mike Bolsinger filed suit against the Houston Astros, alleging unfair business practices, negligence and intentional interference with contractual and economic relations, USA Today reported.

Bolsinger filed the civil lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court in the wake of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. He is seeking unspecified damages and requesting the Astros forfeit the approximate $31 million in bonuses stemming from their 2017 World Series title, per the report. Bolsinger, 32, would like the money to go charities in Los Angeles for children as well as creating a fund for retired baseball players who need financial assistance.

The right-hander vividly recalls the circumstances of his appearance against the Astros on Aug. 4, 2017, in Houston because he was demoted afterward and hasn’t since played in a major league game. Bolsinger threw 29 pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays in that game and retired only one of eight batters. He allowed four runs, four hits (a homer, double and two singles) as well as three walks.

–The Arizona Diamondbacks agreed to a four-year contract with slick-fielding shortstop Nick Ahmed.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but multiple reports put the deal at $32.5 million for four seasons through 2023, an average of $8,125,000 per year. Ahmed and the team were heading toward an arbitration hearing, with the infielder asking for $6.95 million and the D-backs previously sticking at $6.6 million. Regardless, he would have become a free agent after the 2020 season if an extension was not agreed upon.

Ahmed, 29, earned his second consecutive Gold Glove award in 2019, when he also set career highs for batting average (.254), home runs (19) and RBIs (82) while playing in a career-best 158 games.

–Oakland Athletics right-hander Daniel Mengden underwent arthroscopic surgery on his pitching elbow, the team announced.

The Athletics said Mengden had a small spur shaved off during the procedure performed in Arlington, Texas. A recovery timetable wasn’t immediately released. He is out of minor league options and the team said in its statement “his tenure with Oakland could hinge on his recovery.”

Mengden, 26, went 5-2 with a 4.83 ERA in 13 games (nine starts) for Oakland last season. He also made 13 appearances (10 starts) for Triple-A Las Vegas and went 4-3 with a 4.22 ERA.

–Field Level Media

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