In the past, expansion has helped Major League Baseball dig out from financial peril and inject new money into the industry, but despite the significant financial uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, expansion is not on the table, writes the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. News spread of the commissioner’s pessimistic view on expansion when the Phillies signed Dave Dombrowski to run their baseball ops department. Dombrowski had been working with the Nashville group for potential expansion before commissioner Rob Manfred informed them of a new timeline. Expansion can solve short-term financial problems because of the significant franchise fees paid by incoming franchises. In this case, those fees could be $1 billion or more. For the owners, however, the short-term influx of money comes with the long-term losses that come with spreading the overall revenue pie to another two teams. Commissioner Manfred also wants to see stadium issues resolved in Oakland and Tampa Bay before beginning the expansion process.
- The Braves are looking for a left fielder, per MLB Insider Jon Morosi (via Twitter). Presumably, Atlanta would target a short-term investment rather than making a splashier move like, say, bringing back Marcell Ozuna. Ronald Acuna Jr., Ender Inciarte, and Cristian Pache make for an elite defensive alignment, and prospect Drew Waters is on his way. Nick Markakis could certainly find his way back if he wants to keep playing. If their aim is to to find a right-handed bat to spell Inciarte against southpaws, Adam Duvall could return, or Kevin Pillar, Albert Almora Jr. and Cameron Maybin are free agents with experience playing for a contender. If the Braves are looking for a more regular producer in order to give Pache and/or Waters more development time, Joc Pederson could fill the power void left by Ozuna’s departure. Speculatively speaking, Ryan Braun would make for an interesting fit if he decides to play outside Milwaukee. Not to be forgotten, Austin Riley has played some outfield during his short Major League career, but Atlanta expects Riley to lay claim to the hot corner in 2021. That would change if they were to add DJ LeMahieu, but despite their reported interest, such a union seems like a long shot.
- Royals Senior VP of Baseball Ops and General Manager Dayton Moore will be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall Of Fame later in January, per Alex Lewis of the Athletic (via Twitter). Moore is entering his 15th season in 2021 as the GM of the Royals. He was named Executive of the Year by MLB in both 2014 and 2015 for his role as the architect of back-to-back pennant-winning clubs in Kansas City. Those playoff teams are the only Royals teams to make the playoffs since they won the World Series in 1985. He was inducted into the Kansas Hall of Fame in 2014.