Baseball

MLB Expansion and Relocation Candidates

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The hot topic around baseball in recent years has been that of expansion and possible relocation. For many fans, there is a hunger for expansion since MLB is entering its 25th year since its most recent expansion, adding the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998. During this time, the NFL, NBA, and NHL have added a total of seven expansion teams.

Even on the front of relocation, MLB seems to be lacking behind its competitors. The last (and only) MLB team to be relocated since the 1998 expansion was the Montreal Expos to Washington DC in 2005. Since 1998, the NFL, NBA, and NHL combine for a whopping 12 relocations. It is no wonder MLB fans may have a “keep up with the Jones’” attitude. If you are a Minor League baseball player, this presents a greater opportunity to play at the Major League level and make Major League money. There is an appeal to owners as well: more teams will equal more TV deals, more corporate sponsorships, more games for fans to attend, more revenue sharing, and ultimately more money coming into MLB. After all, everybody else is doing it, right?

Relocation Candidates

So which comes first for MLB: relocation or expansion? First, we have to understand those searching for a new ballpark. The obvious usual suspects of this discussion are the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays. Both teams are known for their low attendance and even lower-quality ballparks. Also similarly, each has had years’ worth of struggles trying to work out new stadium plans and agreements with their home cities. In recent years, the A’s have purchased land in Las Vegas, and the Rays have alluded to an odd split-season plan with Montreal.

Next, we have a possible sleeper team: the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks have had years’ worth of disagreements with Maricopa regarding renovations to the dated and aging Chase Field. The Diamondbacks view the stadium is very far behind on modern renovations for both luxury and safety concerns compared to other MLB ballparks. While team officials have flirted with Las Vegas and Vancouver, the Diamondbacks have shown much interest in staying in Arizona, either under a renovated Chase Field, or a brand-new ballpark in the area.

Fourthly, we have the Los Angeles Angels. This should come as no surprise to any consistent fan of the game since the Angels are for sale, currently in a ballpark built in 1966, and desperate for a fresh new start. It is to be noted that current owner Artie Moreno had come close to new ballpark deals in Anaheim already before plans fell through. Uniquely, the Angels have tossed around Long Beach as a new destination. Will a new owner get the job done?

Finally, we have the Baltimore Orioles. Yes, you read that correctly, the seemingly immortal Baltimore Orioles may be facing relocation. If this is not shocking enough, realize that Camden Yards was built in 1992, and 2 ballparks built since then have been replaced (Arlington and Atlanta), and yes, the Orioles organization has publicly discussed their questions about if/how Camden Yards fits into the future of the team. Many readers may not even know that the Orioles are for sale and currently have the two sons of the owner suing each other over regard to the team. On top of that, there is a whole legal fiasco with the Washington Nationals over TV broadcast money. Make no mistake about it, the Orioles will be sold soon, and who knows what that future looks like.

Expansion Possibilities

With all of this being on the table, who gets to make the first relocation, and will it come before or after expansion? In a shocking twist, I predict that no one relocates because I believe MLB will not allow for it, seeing how it is not in the best financial interest for baseball. Refer to a statement from earlier: more teams in MLB will equal more revenue. If any of these mentioned teams relocate to a possible expansion city such as Las Vegas, Nashville, or Charlotte, that keeps the total number of teams at 30, and leaves fewer expansion possibilities remaining. The best-case financial scenario for MLB, and the scenario which I believe will play out, is that each team stays in their city with updated ballparks, and the expansion cities remain reserved for just that: expansion.

As far as the order of expansion, it appears like Nashville is pushing the hardest, having already had a group of investors assembled under the name Nashville Stars. I would predict their sister team would likely be Las Vegas, just to keep balance across the country. My gut tells me North Carolina will get its team further in the future, whether it be in Charlotte or Raleigh, but probably not until a fourth city is established (perhaps in Canada?).

Let us know which cities you think deserve expansion teams, or which teams may relocate! Get creative, what would you name new teams in Las Vegas, Nashville, or Charlotte?

main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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8 comments

  • Troy says:

    Hoboken, NJ

    NY used to have 3 of 16 teams. The reason the Yankees and Mets have such an advantage is the huge market.

    It will never happen but Hoboken is perfect. A place that is the birthplace of professional baseball. Across the river from NYC with plenty of public transit and highway access.

    Not to mention that the Yankees and Mets locations are incredibly far time wise from NJ. Being a short distance from NY, I could get to a Phillies game quicker than a Yankees or Mets game.

  • Richard Pidaniy says:

    2026

    NL EAST Mets Phillies Nats and Expos from Tampa

    South Braves Marlins Reds and Nashville s or strings

    North cards.and ☠

    West Dodgers Giants Padres and

    AL EAST Yankees Red Sox JAYS and Orioles in Charlotte

    North Twins white sox and guardians

    South Astros Rangers (KC) AND San Antonio Scorpions or Austin Armadillas

    AL WEST Mariners Rockies Las Vegas Atheltics or Aces and California Angels but in Sacramento (state capital go back from Anaheim to California )

    14 x 3 = 42 games division
    12 x 6 = 72 vs league
    3 x 16 = 48 games vs other league

    Playoffs 8 teams each 3 game series at higher seed 2nd round best of 5 and LCS and WS STILL 7 games.

  • Joy Van says:

    I think the Portland diamond project deserves some consideration. I liked the thought of the portland a’s.

  • David Robinson says:

    San Antonio, Portland, Las Vegas, Sacramento (maybe the A’s could move there), Oklahoma City, Memphis, New Orleans, Nashville, Jacksonville, or Orlando (the Rays could move to one of these two Florida cities or even share going back to being the Florida Marlins). The same I would suggest for the NFL (except for those cities that already have franchises). As for Canada, I suggest Vancouver, Winnipeg, or Montreal.

  • Matthew Hutchins says:

    Mexico City

  • Larry Buster says:

    Why is Memphis never mentioned in any expansion plans?

  • Lynn McFarland says:

    Nashville Stars
    Las Vegas Gamblers
    Charlotte Green Wave

  • Chuck says:

    Nashville has its organization in place and is just ready to be named. Plus, the area is growing by leaps and bounds.

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