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MLB winter meetings location

The Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, site of the 2023 MLB Winter Meetings. There was plenty of discussion about expansion - but no official announcements.

Rob Manfred’s repeated assertion that he sees the league growing to 32 teams – and his recent comment that it will do so “shortly” after the A’s and Rays’ situations are resolved – suggests there is a consensus among existing owners that the benefits of expanding outweigh the potential risks.[1] As such, it is not the deeper-rooted issues that, right now, are blocking expansion, but shorter-term reasons

This is not the 1980s, when the owners were sceptical about expanding at all.[2] There are concerns that baseball is losing market share to other sports and expansion is one way to try and regain a foothold, attracting new fans to the sport and generating excitement about the league.[3] Rob Manfred is on the record as saying that MLB is "a growth business... sooner or later, growth businesses expand."[4]


The temptation, therefore, would be to suggest that MLB will begin expansion proceedings in 2026 or 2027. The A’s and Rays stadium sagas are close to being concluded, while a new CBA could be negotiated on the basis of adding two new teams to the league. If proceedings began in 2026 or 2027, it would likely mean that two new teams would be selected in 2028 or 2029, slated to begin play in 2030 or 2031.


MLB expansion prediction

But there is plenty that could change before then – new short-term issues could crop up including further stadium sagas (there are rumours Jerry Reinsdorf is shopping the White Sox around), the A’s and Rays might need a bedding in period in their new ballparks before MLB countenances expanding, and more.[5] [6] An expansion process beginning in 2026 with new teams beginning play in 2030 seems possible, but only if everything goes right.



[1] "Rob Manfred Outlines Details On Possible MLB Expansion", Forbes, Maury Brown, 11 July 2023,

[2] Playing Hardball: the high-stakes battle for baseball's new franchises, David Whitford, 1993.

[3] "Why is baseball no longer America’s Game?", CNN, Harry Enten, 7 April 2022,

[4] "MLB commish Rob Manfred says expansion is long-term goal, but don’t expect it soon", The Comeback, Kevin McGuire, 21 April 2016, 

[5] "The baseball commissioner has a message for Wisconsin. Fix American Family Field — or else", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tom Daykin, (no date),

[6] "White Sox ponder move from South Side home", Crain's Chicago Business, Greg Hinz, 21 August 2023,

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