Rob Manfred won’t expand MLB while it needs new cities as stadium leverage

Rob Manfred would love to expand Major League Baseball. He brings it up all the time, and he even has three cities in mind that he once again mentioned while taking questions before Monday’s Home Run Derby: an MLB return to Montreal, an MLB club in Mexico City (or somewhere else in Mexico), and the rare mention of a United States city without a team, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Expansion would be exciting, it would make baseball money, it would create more jobs both on and off the field, and that’s before even getting into how many more minor league players would exist because of the addition of another couple of clubs. However, MLB is not going to expand just yet, not until it gets a few things off its plate, as Manfred himself explained:

Gray will be expensive. The A’s are counting on it. And they’re feeling lucky that they’re back to where they started.

What the Astros would gain by trading for Sonny Gray
The Astros are something of a superbeast, and it’s hard to explain just how terrifying they are. They have a super-young core that rivals any in baseball. They’re conservative with their money, at least for now (18th in overall payroll), but they play in one of the biggest markets in baseball. They have a divine farm system, even after making all sorts of trades to their roster.

Adding a low-cost, under-contract pitcher would allow them to use even more of those assets. Gray would allow them to spend more on the free-agent market. He would allow them to deal some of their pitching prospects. And, most importantly, he would make them better in 2017, even though they’re pretty freaking good already.

In the postseason, with a lineup that will melt Cheap Blank Hockey Jerseys your face Cheap Basketball Jerseys off, the Astros would be able to send out …

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