Expansion of 1998

From BR Bullpen

The Expansion of 1998 began in March of 1994 when the two major leagues created an expansion committee to look into feasibility of expanding from 28 to 30 teams. The committee was headed by Boston Red Sox general partner John Harrington. The committee also included Stanton Cook of the Chicago Cubs, Bill Giles of the Philadelphia Phillies, Richard Jacobs of the Cleveland Indians, Stan Kasten of the Atlanta Braves, Jerry Reinsdorf of the Chicago White Sox and George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees. League presidents Leonard Coleman and Bobby Brown were also on the committee. In June of 1994, the committee announced the 9 cities who had applied for a team: Buffalo, NY, Mexico City, Monterrey, Nashville, TN, Northern Virginia, Orlando, FL, Phoenix, AZ, St. Petersburg, FL and Vancouver, BC. Despite rumors that Charlotte, NC, Washington, DC and Guadalajara would be strong contenders, the three cities chose not to apply (although the Northern Virginia group was in effect bidding on behalf of the Nation's Capital).

The Committee selected four finalists from the group: Northern Virginia, Orlando, Phoenix and St. Petersburg. On March 9, 1995, Major League Baseball voted 28-0 to award franchises to the Tampa Bay area and to Phoenix. These teams would begin play in 1998 and become the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks.

With the expansion, there was also a realignment of leagues. The Milwaukee Brewers moved to the National League. Without this move, each league would have 15 teams, necessitating interleague play every day of the season, something which only took place in 2013, when the Houston Astros moved from the National League to the American League. Thus, the National League had 16 teams and the American League 14. Before this decision was made Commissioner Bud Selig had proposed a Radical Realignment plan, which was not accepted.

Expansion Draft[edit]

On November 18, 1997, an expansion draft was held. All existing teams made players available, and the two new teams could pick players from any of them, irrespective of league. The Devil Rays selected pitcher Tony Saunders from the Florida Marlins with their first pick, while the Diamondbacks took pitcher Brian Anderson from the Cleveland Indians with their first selection.

1st Round

Tampa Bay Devil Rays Arizona Diamondbacks
Pick Player Position Team Player Position Team
1st Tony Saunders LHP Marlins Brian Anderson LHP Indians
2nd Quinton McCracken OF Rockies Jeff Suppan RHP Red Sox
3rd Bobby Abreu OF Astros Gabe Alvarez 3B Padres
4th Miguel Cairo 2B Cubs Jorge Fabregas C White Sox
5th Rich Butler OF Blue Jays Karim Garcia OF Dodgers
6th Bobby Smith SS Braves Edwin Diaz 2B Rangers
7th Jason Johnson RHP Pirates Cory Lidle RHP Mets
8th Dmitri Young OF Reds Joel Adamson LHP Brewers
9th Esteban Yan RHP Orioles Ben Ford RHP Yankees
10th Mike Difelice C Cardinals Yamil Benitez OF Royals
11th Bubba Trammell OF Tigers Neil Weber LHP Expos
12th Andy Sheets SS Mariners Jason Boyd RHP Phillies
13th Dennis Springer RHP Angels Brent Brede 1B Twins
14th Dan Carlson RHP Giants Tony Batista SS A’s

2nd Round

Tampa Bay Devil Rays Arizona Diamondbacks
Pick Player Position Team Player Position Team
1st Brian Boehringer RHP Yankees Tom Martin LHP Astros
2nd Mike Duvall LHP Marlins Omar Daal LHP Blue Jays
3rd John LeRoy RHP Braves Scott Winchester RHP Reds
4th Jim Mecir RHP Red Sox Clint Sodowsky RHP Pirates
5th Bryan Rekar RHP Rockies Danny Klassen SS Brewers
6th Rick Gorecki RHP Dodgers Matt Drews RHP Tigers
7th Ramon Tatis LHP Cubs Todd Erdos RHP Padres
8th Kerry Robinson OF Cardinals Chris Clemons RHP White Sox
9th Steve Cox 1B A’s David Dellucci OF Orioles
10th Albie Lopez RHP Indians Damian Miller C Twins
11th Jose Paniagua RHP Expos Hector Carrasco RHP Royals
12th Carlos Mendoza OF Mets Hanley Frias SS Rangers
13th Ryan Karp LHP Phillies Bob Wolcott RHP Mariners
14th Santos Hernandez RHP Giants Mike Bell 3B Angels

3rd Round

Tampa Bay Devil Rays Arizona Diamondbacks
Pick Player Position Team Player Position Team
1st Randy Winn OF Marlins Joe Randa 3B Pirates
2nd Terrell Wade LHP Braves Jesus Martinez LHP Dodgers
3rd Aaron Ledesma SS Orioles Russ Springer RHP Astros
4th Brooks Kieschnick OF-1B Cubs Bryan Corey RHP Tigers
5th Luke Wilcox OF Yankees Kelly Stinnett C Brewers
6th Herbert Perry 1B Indians Chuck McElroy LHP White Sox
7th Vaughn Eshelman LHP A’s Marty Janzen RHP Blue Jays

Post-Draft Deals[edit]

Once the draft was completed a number of trades were made. Teams had to wait until after the draft or risk losing their newly acquired players because they were not on their protected lists.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Frank Zimniuch: Baseball's New Frontier: A History of Expansion, 1961-1998, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2013. ISBN 978-0803239944