Rob Manfred: ‘Anybody Can Win’ In MLB Postseason Despite Talent Differences

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The Los Angeles Dodgers began their offseason splash by signing Shohei Ohtani, adding another Most Valuable Player to the top of the lineup with Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.

The Dodgers followed that up by acquiring an ace in Tyler Glasnow, and then another one in Yoshinobu Yamamoto on the richest contract for a free agent starting pitcher in MLB history. This may cause their payroll to creep into the highest luxury tax threshold after several seasons of financial restraint in free agency, but that’s the cost of adding elite talent.

The Dodgers endured early playoff exits in two consecutive seasons at the hands of teams who’ve made it in on Wild Card berths with significantly less talent on paper showed how nothing is guaranteed in October, no matter how much star talent a team has.

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred shared that October randomness is part of what makes the game so special when the postseason rolls around, per Evan Drellich of The Athletic:

“My own view on this is that our teams play really hard all year long to get into the playoffs,” Manfred continued. “But one of the greatest things about the playoffs in baseball is, anybody can win. And, you know, it’s about the competition that takes place in the postseason. … I don’t think what happened this year is all that out of line with history.”

The Dodgers’ spending spree is tied into a few unique situations with both Ohtani and Yamamoto. One is a once in a lifetime talent, and the other is an incredibly accomplished starting pitcher embarking on his career in MLB at the age of 25.

Having the best roster doesn’t guarantee anything in terms of winning, seeing as the Texas Rangers lost out on the American League West Division and went on to capture a World Series title:

“That’s kind of how baseball playoffs are, and frankly, how I think they should be,” Manfred said. “If the die was cast — meaning, that if I win 100 in the regular season, I’m going to win the World Series — I don’t think that’s as interesting as what we have witnessed over the last month.”

Ohtani chose the Dodger because of their organizational structure and their ability to sustainably put together a winning environment. Yamamoto echoed those same thoughts, noting the importance of winning, not only now, but in the future.

The Dodgers are set up to win, but as Manfred points out, it’s still a hard path to get there, even with all the talent they have.

MLB makes rules changes for 2024 season

MLB announced modifications to several rules were approved by the joint competition committee and will go into effect at the start of the 2024 regular season.

The MLB rule changes being implemented are widening the runner’s lane to first base, reducing time on the pitch clock with a runner on base, timer during pitching changes, reducing the number of mound visits allowed per game, a pitcher that warms up for an inning needing to face at least one batter, time permitted for a relief pitcher to enter, and when a pitch clock starts.

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