For years baseball fans have sepculated when and where Major League Baseball would expand next. If there was a hypothetical expansion this off-season, who would the Pittsburgh Pirates protect?
Baseball fans have speculated for years when Major League Baseball would expand again, and where they would expand to. Speculation has only run more rampant this year because of the Oakland Athletics’ relocation. Orlando and Salt Lake have both been recent potential destinations for future expansions.
The last time Major League Baseball expanded in 1998. This added the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays (then Devil Rays). Just five years before that, MLB added the Colorado Rockies to the league. One thing that will take place if and when MLB expands once again is an expansion draft.
The Pittsburgh Pirates would have to choose 15 players to protect in an expansion draft. In the ‘98 expansion draft, the Pirates lost three players. Those three are Clint Sodowski, Jason Johnson, and Joe Randa. The 1998 Pirates are a lot different to the 2023 Pirates, so who would the Pirates protect if there was a hypothetical expansion this off-season?
Before we get into our first players, there’s one automatic one we need to get out of the way, and that’s Bryan Reynolds. Reynolds would get protected, no questions asked already, but the Pirates would be required to protect him as well. Any player with any sort of no-trade clause is required to be one of the 15 players a team protects, and Reynolds’ recent extension would qualify for that.
So with that out of the way, let’s get into our first players.