Although Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) are no longer negotiating over the terms of a modified season (not after commissioner Rob Manfred imposed a 60-game schedule earlier this week), it appears that at least one side remains open to the possibility of discussing an expanded postseason.
"I would simply say that if there's interest to discuss something, I'll be available to discuss it," union head Tony Clark told Ronald Blum of the Associated Press.
It should be noted that talking matters over with Manfred is literally part of Clark's job. He would be doing his side a disservice if he wasn't willing to have a conversation about an arrangement that would introduce a good amount of new revenue into the league -- revenue that, theoretically if not always practically, could make its way into his players' pockets.
Even so, if MLB is to adopt an expanded postseason anytime soon, it seems more likely to do so as part of the next Collective Bargaining Agreement -- and not just because COVID-19 is threatening the likelihood of a postseason (or even a regular season) happening this year. (The current CBA will expire after the 2021 season.) The reason for that is straightforward: the players have no reason to add postseason teams without getting something in return, and it's unclear what the owners would offer at this stage that would carry equal or greater value, in the union's estimation.
Remember, the owners originally floated the concept of expanding the postseason during the often contentious negotiations. Yet the owners were unwilling to give ground on player compensation and season length to make a deal happen.
A couple of weeks ago, MLB and Turner Sports were reported to have agreed to terms on a new, long-term broadcasting deal that will keep postseason baseball on the network.