Skip to main content

New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole, fourth from left, along with team staff arrive at Nationals Park for an opening day baseball game against the Washington Nationals, on July 23, 2020, in Washington.Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press

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 post-season.

The agreement was reached Thursday hours before the season opener between the New York Yankees and World Series champion Washington Nationals, according to the 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 post-season pool that would be $50 million if the entire post-season is played. The post-season pool usually comprises ticket money from the post-season, but baseball anticipates playing the entire year in empty ballparks due to the coronavirus.