AP source: MLB, players agree to expand playoffs to 16 teams

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FILE – In this Aug. 29, 2019, file photo, the sun sets behind Citi Field during a baseball game between the New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs in New York. Major League Baseball players ignored claims by clubs that they need to take additional pay cuts, instead proposing they receive a far higher percentage of salaries and a commit to a longer schedule as part of a counteroffer to start the coronavirus-delayed season. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball and the players’ union agreed Thursday to expand the playoffs from 10 teams to 16 for the pandemic-delayed season, a person familiar with the deal said, a decision that makes it likely teams with losing records will reach the postseason.

The agreement was reached Thursday hours before the season opener between the New York Yankees and World Series champion Washington Nationals, according to the a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement was subject to owner approval.

Sixteen of the 30 teams will advance to a best-of-three first round. Those winners move on to the best-of-five Division Series, where the usual format resumes. The final four teams are in best-of-seven League Championship Series, and the pennant winners meet in the best-of-seven World Series.

As part of the deal, MLB agreed to guarantee a postseason pool that would be $50 million if the entire postseason is played. The postseason pool usually comprises ticket money from the postseason, but baseball anticipates playing the entire year in empty ballparks due to the coronavirus.

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