Leading candidates (and delayed timeline) for MLB expansion reportedly revealed

When, and more importantly, where could Major League Baseball expand?
Rob Manfred, MLB Expansion
Rob Manfred, MLB Expansion / Bob Levey/GettyImages

With the Tampa Bay Rays stadium set to open in 2028, and the Oakland Athletics (maybe) moving to Las Vegas, the next thing on Rob Manfred's agenda is MLB expansion, right? Major League Baseball's Commissioner has long since decreed that once the Rays and A's have their stadium deals in place, the league will look to expand from 30 to 32 teams.

MLB has not expanded since the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks entered the league in 1998. The change forced the Detroit Tigers from the AL East to the AL Central, while the Milwaukee Brewers moved from the American to the National League.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported on Monday that MLB has no plans to expand until at least 2030, and that Nashville and Salt Lake City are the most likely destinations to get a new franchise when league looks to create two new clubs.

Nashville and Salt Lake City leading candidates for MLB expansion

Nashville has always had the inside track when it comes to landing an expansion franchise. Oakland A's Hall of Famer and three-time World Series champion Dave Stewart has been leading the charge for Major League Baseball to break ground on a stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.

But the other city has been a bit of a tossup. Portland, Oregon was thought to be a destination at one point, but seems to have lost some ground recently. North Carolina has offered up both Charlotte and Raleigh as potential landing spots for a new major league team as well.

For those baseball fans who miss the Montreal Expos, the largest city in the Quebec province surely desires to see the team return as well. Baseball is continuing to grow the game, and what better way to gain a bigger international following than seeing the Expos return to the Great White North (and busting up the Blue Jays' monopoly on an entire country)?

But recently, Salt Lake City has been gaining steam. The Beehive State has emerged as a potential home for an MLB expansion franchise, especially after opening their doors to the Oakland Athletics.

The A's lease at the Oakland Coliseum expires after next season, but the franchise will need a temporary home between the end of the upcoming season and what they hope will be a new stadium in Las Vegas by 2028. Salt Lake City has made it abundantly clear to A's owner John Fischer that they'd love to host the team for a few seasons.

If Salt Lake City's leadership is able to convince the Fischer and Major League Baseball to allow them to be the A's temporary home for 2025-2027, that would bode quite well for their attempts to bring an expansion franchise to Utah.