This year’s MLB playoff format will include the largest field of the entire season, with 12 out of 30 teams (40%) retaining title hopes. For the other 60%, the start of the 2022 postseason marks the start of the offseason.

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For these 18 clubs, the focus now is on 2023 and beyond. And when they chart a course that they hope will get them into the top 40%, it begins with one key question. Of course, this is one of many questions, but all travel must begin with the choice of direction.

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Here’s a key question that every non-playoff team will, or at least should, be asking in the coming days. (Note: Our original list had 15 teams; we’ll add more when they’re officially delisted.)


Arizona Diamondbacks: How close are we?

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Maybe Arizona needs another season as a proof of concept, but under the guidance of new pitching coach Brent Strome, the previously pitchless Diamondbacks seem to have miraculously become a potential ruthless run-avoidant. They aren’t there yet, of course, but turning Merrill Kelly and Zach Gallen into an elite one-two-spin hitter is a great foundation to build on. The defense of the team was also excellent. What was true and what was fiction? If that were true, the Diamondbacks would seem to be one or two big hitters away from breaking into the wild card spot next season. We’ll get a clear picture of how Arizona measures its run-avoidance accomplishments as it approaches this winter on the hard side.