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Report: MLB willing to keep universal DH if players agree to expanded playoffs

Mitchell Layton / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The pandemic-shortened 2020 MLB campaign was played with some notable rule changes, including using the designated hitter in both the American League and National League for the first time in history and an expanded 16-team postseason structure.

Whether either change carries over into 2021 remains a source of conjecture. Players want to keep the universal DH, and MLB owners want them to agree to an expanded playoff format in exchange, sources told Jeff Passan of ESPN. The MLBPA apparently does not see that as a fair trade, however.

Some executives believe the universal DH will stick around for 2021 regardless of whether players agree to an expanded postseason, Passan adds, noting that most front offices would also favor its adoption.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said that while the league benefited from having more playoff teams, 16 was too many. The 16-team format included two playoff teams with a losing record.

League owners reportedly prefer a 14-team format, in which the top seed from the AL and NL each earns a first-round bye.

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