The Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics need to secure new stadiums soon or MLB will be forced to consider relocation efforts, warned commissioner Rob Manfred.
“There is urgency with respect to Tampa,” Manfred said at a press conference Thursday, according to The Associated Press (h/t ESPN). “There needs to be a resolution in the Tampa Bay region for the Rays.”
In January, MLB nixed the Rays’ proposed plan to have the city of Montreal host half of the team’s home games. While the team’s lease at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, doesn’t expire until 2027, little progress has been made on securing a long-term home for the Rays. The standstill leaves open the possibility that the team could be on the hunt for a new city in the not-so-distant future.
“Right now, I’m focused on Tampa,” Manfred said Thursday. “I think a great man once said, all good things must end at some point. But right now we’re focused on Tampa.”
Manfred said the A’s — whose lease at RingCentral Coliseum expires after the 2024 season — also need a new home, but was more optimistic about the team’s efforts that have “moved along significantly.” Still, he was unwilling to rule out a move for the A’s.
“As you all know, California political processes are their own sort of animal,” Manfred said. “There’s work to do on the Oakland side. I think the A’s prudently have continued to pursue the Las Vegas alternative. We like Las Vegas as a market. Again, it’s in the same category as Tampa. We need a solution in both those markets and the time has come for that solution.”
The only MLB relocation in the last 50 years came in 2005 when the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals.