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Rob Manfred Discusses Montreal, Mexico City as Potential MLB Expansion Locations

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistMay 6, 2016

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, left, talks with Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski before a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Red Sox Thursday, May 5, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Major League Baseball hasn't expanded since the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays came aboard in 1998, but MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is open to the possibility of adding new franchises down the line. 

Speaking to Jason Benetti and Steve Stone of CSN Chicago on Thursday night (via Fox Sports' Jon Morosi), Manfred explained that he would "love to see" MLB expand once the league's new labor deal is finalized and stadium situations in Tampa Bay and Oakland are resolved.    

Manfred also had a couple of ideas regarding locales for prospective franchises. 

"My personal frontrunner would be either Montreal or Mexico City," he said, per Morosi. "...Mexico City, in particular, would be new ground for us."

While the possibility of playing in Mexico City is uncharted territory, as Manfred mentioned, a return to Montreal would be compelling. MLB hasn't had a presence in Montreal since the Expos became the Washington Nationals—which ended a 35-year stint for the franchise north of the border—but the city has the infrastructure necessary to support a return. 

"To summarize: Montreal has well-documented passion for professional sports, including baseball," Morosi wrote. "The city has drawn an average of more than 48,000 fans per game to Toronto Blue Jays exhibitions in 2014 and 2015; advance ticket sales are even more robust for this year’s series between Toronto and Boston." 

Morosi also noted Montreal is the largest metropolitan area in the United States or Canada that doesn't boast a MLB club. 

However, even if expansion is firmly on Manfred's radar, it likely won't materialize until the next decade.

Manfred previously said the timeline for expansion is "not immediate," and Morosi pegged the possible time frame around "five or six years—at the very earliest."

But even if the addition of new franchises is still merely aspirational at this point, chatter regarding expansion likely won't die down so long as Manfred continues to try to grow the sport throughout North America. 

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