The Giants are going to have to fight like hell through the NL West's tough terrain this season to make the playoffs. If it were up to Giants CEO Larry Baer, it would be a little easier for San Francisco and the rest of the league to make it to the postseason.
"Yeah, we've been very clear that we're hopeful for expanded playoffs," Baer said Sunday morning to KNBR's Marty Laurie. "If you remember last year, it was done in the last minute. We'd be supportive of expanded playoffs. All of the discussions are happening between the players association and Rob Manfred and the commissioner's office, so I don't know.
"As of now, we're assuming they won't be in place because they're not now on February 28th, but it's not impossible that it could be done late in spring training and before Opening Day."
With MLB's regular season being reduced to 60 games last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, playoffs were expanded from 10 teams to 16 in the 30-team major leagues. The Giants seemed set to make the expanded playoffs until losing their last three games.
Manager Gabe Kapler already has made it clear to his team they can't worry about if there are expanded playoffs or not this season. It seems like that won't be the case in 2021, and Baer made it clear plenty of those decisions are out of his hands.
"The big goal here is when we have the new collective bargaining agreement to put some of the improvements into place for the new CBA," Baer said. "The current CBA ends after this year, so with the 2022 CBA, we'd be supportive of expanded playoffs for the Giants. So, we'll see where that goes but certainly we want that. So this year, as of now, no, but going forward we'd be big supporters of expanded playoffs -- not just because it increases teams' chances of getting in but it just brings more meaningful baseball, August and September baseball.
"Obviously in baseball we have the smallest number of teams qualifying for the playoffs and that's probably right, because we have 162 games and you want to make those 162 games matter."
Baseball is in muddied waters right now and it's only going to get worse with the CBA expiring after this season. Expect plenty of ugly arguments this upcoming offseason. Regarding expanded playoffs, it's clear Baer wants them, but he did admit he doesn't have a firm grip on how they might look going forward.
"Would it necessarily wind up with 16 teams like it did last year in the 60-game season? I think there's versions between the current 10 and the 16 that we had last year that are being contemplated," Baer said.
No matter what reasons Baer gives, it sure makes sense why the Giants would want expanded playoffs this season and for years to come. They're in the same division as the Los Angeles Dodgers -- the reigning World Series champions who added the NL Cy Young Award winner this offseason -- and the San Diego Padres, who had perhaps the best offseason in the game and locked up Fernando Tatis Jr. to a 14-year contract.
This is just wait-and-see right now, but you can't really argue with Baer's hopes for the future of the playoffs.