Bud Selig’s office missed the February 1st deadline to have finished a proposed schedule to send to the players association. Talks have not ended and it still looks like a decent possibility that the MLB will be able to expand to two wild card teams in both divisions, but they have encountered many more scheduling issues than anticipated. There are a ton of different issues, but long story short is they need to figure out how to fit in the extra wild card matchups in between the end of the season and start of the ALDS. The real problem comes from scheduling tiebreaker games between first place and wild cards (which becomes much more important now), rain out makeup games, and also, to do everything in compliance with TV contracts.
This is huge news for Red Sox fans. The day they announced a possible expansion of the playoff format was like Christmas day for every fan of the AL East (yes, even Orioles fans). If the MLB is unable to figure out this situation soon, it will be detrimental to the playoff hopes of each the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays. All are in position to be top teams in the MLB again, with the Blue Jays not far behind. As we all remember last year, the Red Sox failed to make the playoffs with 90 wins and the Braves failed to make the playoff on the last day with 89 wins. In the proposed situation, both would have made the playoffs. Also, this is an important proposition because it awards teams for coming in 1st place, by forcing wild card teams to use their best starters in a one game playoff, while 1st place teams get more resting time.
In other news for the Red Sox, the Nationals have agreed to a one year contract with Edwin Jackson, who was widely believed to be the best free agent pitcher left on the market. Talks look like they are winding down between the Red Sox and Roy Oswalt as well. It looks like we will be heading into spring training with Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Bucholz at the front of our rotation. The Red Sox will then have Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves, and an island of misfit toys duke it out and try to fill the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation.
I think the Rays will get the wild card. They have Desmond Jennings to rleapce Carl Crawford and Jeremy Hellickson to rleapce Matt Garza. I think both will be upgrades. Also don’t sleep on the next Tampa Rays to make a playoff push and surprise the heck out of everyone this year. The Kansas City Royals. Before you laugh, check out some of the talent in their system