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Commissioner Rob Manfred says no expansion plans, but potential new franchises could cost more than $2 billion

Commissioner Rob Manfred said any potential new major league franchises in the future could cost more than $2 billion.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said any potential new major league franchises in the future could cost more than $2 billion.John Raoux/Associated Press

Major League Baseball would consider expansion fees in the range of $2.2 billion for new franchises, though there are no current plans to add teams.

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred spoke Tuesday during SporticoLive’s online discussion of its estimates to baseball franchise valuations. The company estimated the average MLB franchise value is $2.2 billion, led the New York Yankees at $6.75 billion.

Colorado and Miami paid $95 million each to join in 1993, and Arizona and Tampa Bay paid $130 million to join in 1998.

Manfred has said repeatedly that MLB will not consider expansion until the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays get new ballparks. The Athletics have proposed a stadium in the Howard Terminal area of downtown Oakland, and the Rays have said they will pursue splitting seasons between the Tampa Bay area and Montreal starting in 2028, after the expiration of their lease at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

No plans for those cities have been finalized.

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Manfred has mentioned as possible expansion candidates: Charlotte, N.C.; Las Vegas; Montreal; Nashville.; Portland, Ore.; and Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Expos left Canada after the 2004 season. Could Montreal be getting another team soon?
The Expos left Canada after the 2004 season. Could Montreal be getting another team soon?Associated Press

“If in fact these assets are worth an average $2.2 billion, I think that’s kind of a lodestar in terms of where you would start in terms of evaluating expansion opportunity,” Manfred said. “Expansion is not purely additive, right, from the perspective of the existing owners. There are huge shared revenue streams that are diluted as a result of having 32 as opposed to 30 as your denominator, and if that was in fact the expansion number, and that has to be taken into account, as well.”

Manfred also said MLB made the correct decision April 2 to relocate its All-Star Game from Atlanta’s Truist Park over the league’s objections to changes to Georgia voting laws that critics have condemned as being too restrictive. MLB announced four days later than the July 13 game will be played at Coors Field in Denver.

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“We were injected into a very politicized situation. I think we did the right thing,” Manfred said. “We thought our players were going to be in an extraordinarily difficult situation given how politically charged it was. And we think that the decision we made will actually be player protective.”

Tier 1 vaccination rate 70%

Major League Baseball says 70% of players, on-field staff and support personnel have been fully or partially vaccinated for the novel coronavirus.

In an email to The Associated Press, Manfred said his figure referred to all individuals defined as Tier 1 in MLB’s protocols, which includes players, on-field personnel such as managers, coaches and athletic trainers, plus essential personnel who need to be in close proximity, such as translators and media and travel staff. He said the 70% figure includes partial vaccinations for those receiving two-stage vaccines.

“I think we’re around 70%. The clubs have worked really hard with their players,” Manfred said. “We’re continuing to press to try to get everybody up above that kind of 85 (%) number that we think is so important.”

MLB told players on March 29 that COVID-19 protocol restrictions would be relaxed when 85% of Tier 1 personnel are vaccinated.

White Sox place Robert on IL

Outfielder Luis Robert was placed on the injured list by the Chicago White Sox as a precaution after he reported feeling flu-like symptoms.

General manager Rick Hahn said in a statement Robert informed the team’s medical staff of the symptoms Monday night. The team is awaiting further test results.

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“Our hope is that his symptoms resolve quickly and that the testing protocols clear him to return to the active roster soon,” Hahn said.

Luis Robert is hitting .305 to start the 2021 season.
Luis Robert is hitting .305 to start the 2021 season.Steven Senne/Associated Press

The 23-year-old Robert is hitting .305 with one home run and six RBIs in 21 games. He finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting last season.

Chicago recalled righthanded pitcher Alex McRae and outfielder Luis González from their Schaumburg, Ill., training facility.

Kluber dazzles, Yankees top Orioles

Corey Kluber got his first win in two years, Kyle Higashioka homered again as he gains playing time from Gary Sánchez and the New York Yankees beat the Orioles, 5-1, in Baltimore.

Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton also homered — the Yankees are 9-0 when they go deep in the same game, including the playoffs. New York stopped a four-game skid at Camden Yards and at 10-13 moved into a tie with the Orioles for last in the AL East.

“Corey set the tone,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Obviously, he threw the ball really well and was in command most of the night. I thought our offense did a lot of really good things. We still didn’t breakthrough with a lot of runs, but we’ll certainly take five.”

Kluber (1-2), who signed an $11 million, one-year contract as a free agent, allowed one run and six hits with five strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings. Kluber has come back from two injury-marred seasons and became the first Yankees starter other than Gerrit Cole to pitch into the seventh inning this season. It was Kluber’s first win and longest outing since he threw seven innings against Atlanta on April 20, 2019.

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Before the game, the Yankees acquired lefthanded reliever Wandy Peralta from the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Mike Tauchman. New York also gets a player to be named as part of the deal.

Peralta, 29, is 2-1 with two saves and a 5.40 ERA in 10 relief appearances with the Giants this season and is 9-9 with a 4.72 ERA and two saves in six major league seasons with Cincinnati (2016-19) and San Francisco (2019-21).

Guerrero homers three times, Blue Jays rips Nationals

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit three home runs, including a grand slam and solo shot off Washington ace Max Scherzer, and had seven RBIs as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Nationals, 9-5, in Dunedin, Fla. Guerrero’s slam in the third put the Blue Jays ahead 4-3 and ended Scherzer’s scoreless streak at 19 innings. Guerrero made it 7-3 with his drive in the fifth and added a two-run, seventh-inning shot off Kyle Finnegan to complete his first three-homer game . . . In St. Petersburg, Fla., Brett Phillips hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning and the Rays held on for a 4-3 win, handing the Athletics their second loss in 16 games . . . Carlos Martinez pitched two-hit ball into the eighth inning for his first win as a starter since 2018, leading the Cardinals over the Phillies, 5-2, in St. Louis. Paul Goldschmidt and Tommy Edman hit two-run doubles and Nolan Arenado doubled twice as St. Louis won for the fourth time in five games . . . Ian Anderson allowed one hit in seven innings, Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a long home run and the Braves beat the skidding Cubs, 5-0, in Atlanta . . . Cristian Javier combined with two relievers on a two-hitter, and the Astros beat the Seattle Mariners, 2-0, in Houston to get above .500 as they bounced back from a long skid . . . The Minnesota Twins will make up a pair of virus-prompted postponements against the Los Angeles Angels as a doubleheader May 20, originally an off day for both teams, in Anaheim, Calif. . . . Jerry Blevins, a left-handed reliever who split the bulk of his career between the Athletics and Mets, announced his retirement after 13 big league seasons. The 37-year-old last pitched in the majors for Atlanta in 2019. He had been working at the Mets’ alternate training site in Brooklyn after failing to land a bullpen spot out of spring training.

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