Report: No universal DH, expanded playoffs this season
There won't be expanded playoffs or a universal designated hitter in Major League Baseball this season, sources told Evan Drellich of The Athletic.
Both the league and the players' association consider the issues to be dead, and no further discussions are planned, Drellich reports.
Pitchers will therefore resume hitting in National League contests and the playoffs will return to the 10-team format in place from 2012 to 2019.
MLB and the union agreed to add the DH in the NL last year due to the pandemic-shortened season as a health and safety measure. The sides also expanded the playoffs to 16 teams, using a temporary format that included a best-of-three wild-card series.
Tension has grown between the sides during offseason negotiations surrounding both issues. Players want the universal DH in place, both to keep pitchers healthy and open up more jobs for position players. However, the league believes it would be unfair to NL teams to reverse course and add the DH now that spring training is in full swing, according to Drellich.
Owners, meanwhile, are pushing for an expanded postseason because of the financial windfall it would bring them. Had the 2021 playoffs been expanded, MLB would have been given a $100-million credit from television partner ESPN, a source told Drellich.
In January, MLB reportedly offered to institute the universal DH in exchange for an expanded postseason. The MLBPA turned it down.
The collective bargaining agreement will expire on Dec. 1.