What are the Steps for an MLB Expansion Team?

MLB fans. It’s been a long time since the year 2005 existed. Adam Sandler was starring in the remake of the Longest Yard. Shake and Bake from Talladega Nights, the Ballad of Ricky Bobby hadn’t existed yet, and JP Losman and Kelly Holcomb were the Buffalo Bills Quarterbacks.

More importantly, the Washington Nationals played their inaugural season after moving from Montreal.

Manfred’s Wish

Since he became commissioner in 2015, Rob Manfred has not had an expansion team come through in his tenue. But he would love to expand the league from 30 to 32 teams. It’s not that there can’t be a new city to call Major League Baseball it’s home. It’s just the process that comes with relocation is very rigorous and time consuming.

That’s why the Oakland A’s or the Tampa Bay Rays never bother to submit a proposal. Many fans have wanted these two franchises to move out of their current homes, but no franchise has even budge to do so.

Oakland A’s & Tampa Bay

To the Oakland Athletics, it should be a no brainer to move out as a majority of Americans are leaving the once great state of California. Plus, the ballpark is old and in rusty condition. Also, attendance has been very poor and the roster is mediocre.

As for the Rays, they play in the great state of Florida where the sun is shining and everyone to quote Neal Young is ,”Rocking in the Free World.” The problem with this franchise is not the city or the state. It’s just Tropicana Field is a horrible ball park. The venue is approaching 32-years-old and it needs renovating to even look remotely close to a 2022 facility.

The Relocation Process

First the MLB puts out a request for proposal (RFP). It’s a statement that baseball and the team inquiring is open to relocation. That informs all parties that might show interest in a team, to get in the action.

There will be no process around relocation for any team interested, until there is a way around any legal obstacles by the host city. Tampa Bay has currently agreed to a lease until it ends in 2027. There is more of a window for Oakland, but it’s more algorithmic. If both cities find a reason to have a ballpark built in it’s city, they will certainly do so.

Manfred and owners are obligated to back it. In reality, the MLB must and does believe in having new ballparks built way before deciding to give the relocation card a green light.

If the Relocation Process Starts, What Will It Look Like?

If it ever came down to a relocation process, a relocation committee would be formed. Just like with the Expos, it will additionally look for a series of options as part of deciding if a market is appropriate. It goes from decisions in the moment, a market study around support for corporate season tickets and suites, a desire for sponsorships, a regional television deal, and most of all, a land purchase and funding design for the stadium.

The Expansion Process

With the process of relocation, brings the result of expansion to the table. For set markets to be determined, owners must vote and the voting comes with a conventional structure. As for when expansion can happen, the MLB Players Association is very interested, because travel schedules can be part of the picture.

The present labor agreement says that, “the clubs have the right to expand the number of Major League Clubs by adding up to two (2) new Expansion Clubs. Notice of a decision to expand by two Clubs shall promptly be given to the [Players] Association and the [Players] Association may reopen [the current labor agreement] with reference solely to the effect upon the players of such expansion, upon the giving of 10 days’ written notice.”

What are the Expansion Costs?

One element is for sure, that expansion will certainly come with a price. As I learned in 12th grade economics, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” For example, let’s say the Miami Marlins or Oakland A’s were sold for $1.2 billion, it’s very likely that as small as $800 million to about $1 billion in expansion fees would be asked by the clubs. That signifies the desire to expand two clubs to even out the league.

Also, the league’s 30 owners could each face around $66.7 million. That total could be cut down should the MLB expand to either Mexico or Canada.

A League with 32 teams?

Commissioner Manfred sees eight-four team divisions should the league expand to 32 teams. Also, the amount of regular season games would probably be condensed, which means a longer, but more exciting postseason. And unlike College football, where geography no longer matters, it would matter even more in the MLB. Also, the MLB may decide to put in the designated hitter in both the American and National Leagues. This is what us baseball fans get to look forward to in the future.

So fans, should the MLB expand in the first place? If so, how would you go and build your team?

Let me know in the comment section.

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4 thoughts on “What are the Steps for an MLB Expansion Team?

  1. The Oakland team should follow suit like their football team and move to Las Vegas. They should add teams from cities that have the potential fanbase but no team.

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