What if There is Expansion?

If MLB decides to expand the number of teams in order to recoup some of their losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a few interesting topics to explore.  Two would be which cities would receive franchises and who would teams protect in the resulting expansion draft.

The franchise question is interesting.  If one team is added to each league, it would likely lead to some sort of realignment.  I like the four, 4-team divisions suggestion I saw last week.  But, you can’t rule out two, 8-teams divisions.  In any case, how many teams are added, where they are located, and if there is no other movement among existing teams will determine alignment.

Now, if two teams are added, they will fill out their rosters with players drafted from the existing 30 teams.

So who would you protect?

If MLB follows the draft rules they created back in 1997 (or something similar), teams will be able to protect 15 players in their organization.  The following rules determined who was eligible and who had to be protected.

  • All players in an organization are eligible to be drafted, except those with no prior major league experience who have less than three years service if signed at age 19 or older or have less than four years of service if signed at age 18 or younger.
  • Ten/five players must be protected unless they waive their rights.
  • Players with no-trade clauses must be protected unless they waive their rights.
  • After the first round, each new team will have 15 players and each existing team will have lost one player.
  • Each team will be able to protect 3 more players between the first and second rounds.  After the second round, each new team will have 30 players and each existing team will have lost two players.
  • Each team will be able to protect 3 more players between the second and third rounds.
  • Here’s where it gets tricky.  In 1997, the third round was limited to 7 picks each to reach a total of 35 players on each roster.  It remains to be seen if they limit the new teams to 5 picks each in the third round, or their rosters to go beyond 35 players.

So, who must the Phillies protect?

  • Bryce Harper is listed in COTS as having full no trade protection.  (I thought he didn’t have a NTC).
  • Jean Segura has a full no trade protection.
  • Jay Bruce has limited no trade protection (5 teams).  I would think he’s eligible?
  • No other Phillies have no trade protection.
  • No Phillies fall into the 10/5 category.

So my best guess is they have to protect Harper and Segura unless either waives his no trade protection.

Who is ineligible?

This depends on whether minor league players are granted service time if the 2020 season is cancelled.  Assuming they don’t get service time since MLB doesn’t have to grant it to minor league players, then anyone who would have been eligible for the Rule 5 Draft in 2020 would have had the required service time, even without a 2020 season.  Players who signed at nineteen-years-old and older in 2017 would have played in 2017, 2018, and 2019; players who signed at eighteen-years-old and younger in 2016 would have played in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Who is Eligible?

By my quick calculations, 142 of the 377 players in the organization are eligible to be selected in an expansion draft.  That number would go up if minor league players are granted service time.  Or if a minor league player like Alec Bohm who has two years of minor league service would be on the major league roster for the whole year and then had three total years of service time.

I have modified a copy of the Player Info spreadsheet to show who is and isn’t eligible among all players in the organization.  Below I’ve listed the eligible players.

Who would you protect?

This would occur after the 2020 season.  Arrieta, Bruce, Gregorius, Realmuto. Alvarez, and Hunter will be free agents.  Robertson has a buyout.  Neris is on an option.  And, free agent contracts will have expired for guys like Forsythe, Gosselin, Harrison, Liriano, Mahtook, Norris, Parker, Storen, Swarzak, Szczur, Walker, Bethancourt, Castillo, Rivera, Torreyes, and Bustamante.

I don’t want to risk losing prospects like Howard and I would like to protect MLB level pitching and a youthful core.  So, in addition to Harper and Segura, I protect Nola, Wheeler, Howard, assuming they play this season the 2 best of Eflin/Pivetta/Vasquez, Morgan, Suarez, Hoskins, Kingery, Haseley, E. Garcia, Rosso, Seabold.

Obviously, if Bohm plays this season, I would protect him.  I want to protect a lot of other young guys, too, but don’t have room.

I spent way more time putting this article together than I did on which players I would protect.  So, I’m sure that my list will generate much discussion.

Which thirteen players would you protect along with Harper and Segura from the list below?  (Note: I’ve struck through the players who are likely to NOT be on an organization roster by the time a draft is held.)

Alvarez, Jose – LHP
Arano, Victor – RHP
Arrieta, Jake – RHP
De Los Santos, Enyel – RHP
Dominguez, Seranthony – RHP
Eflin, Zach – RHP
Guerra, Deolis – RHP
Hammer, J.D. – RHP
Hunter, Tommy – RHP
Kelley, Trevor – RHP
Morgan, Adam – LHP
Neris, Hector – RHP
Nola, Aaron – RHP
Pivetta, Nick – RHP
Robertson, David – RHP
Stock, Robert – RHP
Suarez, Ranger – LHP
Velasquez, Vincent – RHP
Wheeler, Zack – RHP
Knapp, Andrew – C
Realmuto, J.T. – C
Gregorius, Didi – SS
Hoskins, Rhys – 1B
Kingery, Scott – OF
Bruce, Jay – OF
Haseley, Adam – OF
McCutchen, Andrew – RF
Quinn, Roman – CF

Lehigh Valley
Appel, Mark – RHP
Brogdon, Connor – RHP
Cleavinger, Garrett – LHP
Davis, Austin – LHP
Dohy, Kyle – LHP
Garcia, Edgar – RHP
Irvin, Cole – LHP
Jones, Damon – LHP
Leibrandt, Brandon – LHP
Liriano, Francisco – LHP
Llovera, Mauricio – RHP
McClain, Reggie – RHP
McGarry, Seth – RHP
Norris, Bud – RHP
Parker, Blake – RHP
Romero, JoJo – LHP
Rosso, Ramon – RHP
Storen, Drew – RHP
Swarzak, Anthony – RHP
Bethancourt, Christian – C
Grullon, Deivi – C
Harrison, Josh – IF/OF
Castillo, Ali – 3B
Forsythe, Logan – INF
Gosselin, Phil – INF
Hall, Darick – 1B
Rivas, Raul – SS
Rivera, T.J. – INF
Torreyes, Ronald – INF
Walker, Neil – INF
Garlick, Kyle – OF
Herrera, Obudel – CF
Listi, Austin – OF
Mahtook, Mikie – CF
Martini, Nick – LF
Szczur, Matt – OF
Williams, Nick – LF

Bettencourt, Trevor – RHP
Brown, Aaron – LHP
Bustamante, Carlos – RHP
Falter, Bailey – LHP
Garcia, Julian – RHP
Hennigan, Jonathan – LHP
Hernandez, Jakob – LHP
Howard, Spencer – RHP
Leftwich, Luke – RHP
Medina, Adonis – RHP
Parkinson, David – LHP
Russ, Addison – RHP
Sanchez, Christopher – LHP
Seabold, Connor – RHP
Singer, Jeff – LHP
Warren, Zach – LHP
Cabral, Edgar – C
Lartigue, Henri – C
Martinez, Nerluis – C
Antequera, Jose – 3B
Cumana, Grenny – INF
Gamboa, Arquimedes – SS
Gomez, Jose – SS
Maton, Nick – SS
Williams, Luke – 3B
Moniak, Mickey – CF
Pujols, Jose – RF
Randolph, Cornelius – LF
Stephen, Josh – LF

Armas, Gustavo – RHP
Brown, Andrew – RHP
Fanti, Nick – LHP
Hallead, Tyler – RHP
Marcelino, Oscar – RHP
Requena, Alejandro – RHP
Young, Kyle – LHP
Duran, Rodolfo – C
Fitch, Colby – C
Marchan, Rafael – C
Brito, Daniel – 2B
Guthrie, Dalton – SS
Muzziotti, Simon – CF
Ortiz, Jhailyn – RF

Gowdy, Kevin – RHP
Jimenez, Jose – LHP
Mezquita, Jhordany – LHP
Morales, Francisco – RHP
Silva, Manuel – LHP
Troya, Gilmael – RHP
Aparacio, Juan – C
Guzman, Jonathan – SS
Trejo, Yerwin – CF
Matos, Malvin – LF
Pelletier, Ben – RF

Aponte, Leonel – RHP
Francisco, Carlos – RHP
Made, Alejandro – RHP
Tejada, Junior – LHP
Torres, Nicolas – INF

GCL Phillies East
Martinez, Robinson – RHP
Tortolero, Jose – INF

GCL Phillies West
Avendano, Eudiver – RHP
Rosario, Dalvin – RHP
Rosario, Sandro – RHP
Made, Edgar – SS
Rojas, Luis – 1B
Valerio, Christian – SS

DSL Phillies Red
Blanco, Jeison – RHP
Sanchez, Yeison – RHP
Santos, Juan – RHP

DSL Phillies White
Rivas, Aldemar – RHP
Valdez, Jean Carlos – RHP
Mendez, Juan – C
De La Rosa, Maximo – 1B
Herrera, Juan – 3B
Mora, Raymond – RF

Mims, Brian – 2B

17 thoughts on “What if There is Expansion?

  1. Segura, Hoskins, Kingery, Bohm, Harper, Haseley, Wheeler, Nola, Howard, Eflin, Vinnie, Pivetta are 12. The next 3 will come from a group of Jones, Siebold, Quinn, Moniak, Marchan, Sanchez, Llovera, Brogden and Dohy. It will depend on who has to be covered from this list.

  2. “less than three years service if signed at age 19 or older”….doesn’t Haseley fall into this category if they do not count minor league as MLB service time, and than, needs no protection?

    1. First, these were the rules they followed in 1997, so they may decide on different criteria next time. I used these because it seemed better (easier) than making up our own rules for this little exercise.

      Haseley has major league service which will be augmented by the full year of service time he receives for the 2020 season. Even if he were to start the season in the minors, he has three years of combined service time between the majors and minors (2017-19).

      However, even though eligible, I wouldn’t protect him before the first round because I don’t think he would be selected.

  3. Who I would protect after the first round would be affected by what types of players were selected during the first round. For instance. if a lot of pitchers were selected, I would give more consideration to position players prior to the second round.

    If I were selecting players for an expansion team, I would be looking for young, MLB ready prospects rather than the type of MLB players that teams leave exposed. I would want controllable players, not guys with one year remaining on their contracts.

    While I might want a name player to be the “face” of my team, I wouldn’t want the accompanying contract. Would I select an unprotected Harper, Machado, Sale, Corbin, Strasburg, Hamels, Cole, Stanton, Chapman … (if NTCs have been waived)? I don’t know.
    Would you?

    1. Of that group to be the ‘face’ of the team with that LTC…..based on what is known today, just three would be under consideration for me…Cole, Harper, and Machado…and in that order..
      Sale and Strasburg have a lot of mileage and damage, same with Stanton for injury concerns and Chapman as a reliever/closer may be pass his prime.

  4. Frightening to think baseball would expand. Contraction would seem more in order. Not enough quality players for more teams, pitching is always in short supply and not enough quality umpires. Other than that.

    1. Welcome to Phuture Phillies, Baron. I’m not really advocating expansion. But, as I’m sure you know, after losing 948 total games at the end of the 1994 season and the start of the 1995 season, the owners held an expansion draft in November 1997 to add two teams in 1998. The new franchises paid a $130 million expansion fee with payments beginning in 1995 – $32 million in July 1995, $25 million in July 1996, $40 million in July 1997 and $33 million in November 1997.

      Recognizing that expansion fees are one way for the owners to recoup losses, we’re just speculating who should be protected. Of course, if there IS expansion, it wouldn’t be for 2-3 years, and our projections would have no value 2-3 years down the road.

      Stay well, sir.

  5. FYI, MLBTR posted its Phillies ‘what if there’s an expansion draft’, listing the probable 11 protected, and allowing readers to pick the remaining 4.

    1. Three of the four I selected were the highest %……but selected Austin Davis over Seranthony…….Seranthony without TJ will probably not make it pass the 25th game this year, whenever that is….then it will be 2022 before he will pitch again if he has to go under the knife in August or September.
      So IMO, he can be left unprotected

      1. Romus, most of the voters (including myself) chose to take Seranthony and his high risk/high reward profile. Even should he miss time between ’20-’21, his talent post surgery/recovery is attractive enough to protect him. But I understand the argument against.

        1. 8mark…that could be wishful thinking.
          He failed PRP, and not even sure they decided to go stem-cell.
          UCLs tears do not heal on their own….they however can lengthen in the healing process for the ligament, which only means a shorter baseball career since velo will be limited and tick downward with aging.
          If he tries and fails with his return later this summer……then TJ is the only alternative.
          That means .rehab takes around 12 to 15 months for pitchers shorter for position players…maybe 6/8 months.
          So, more than likely, he does not pitch in a big league game until 2022
          No expansion team will take him at that point going into his age 27 season…..his plus…. he is under team control until thru 2024.

        2. MLBTR ran their “draft” under slightly different rules. They only considered players with MLB experience and prospects in the top 100.

          Under their rules, Alec Bohm needed to be protected even if there is no 2020 season.

          I think they made a mistake when they included Robertson as a FA. He has an option for 2021. As does Neris. I wouldn’t protect Robertson as they didn’t. But I also wouldn’t protect Neris. Or Haseley, whom I don’t think would be selected. I imagine they might though because he’s a first round pick..

          The four players protected by MLBTR’s readers were Dominguez, McCutchen, Velasquez, and Pivetta. It’s easier to find reasons not to protect guys.

          I like Dominguez but wouldn’t protect him since they seem to be somewhat erratic with his treatment. I don’t know how effective he’s going to be this season or if he will have another regression and ultimately need surgery. Because of this uncertainty, I don’t think he gets selected.

          I like McCutchen but we haven’t seen if he is healthy. I wouldn’t protect him for the one season left on his contract.

          I like VV and P. But, one was going to the bullpen this season. The other would have followed when Howard was called up. I would protect better bullpen arms.

          So, since I’m not protecting Bohm (unless he plays MLB this season) and Neris, my SIX by MLBTR’s rules would be Morgan, Suarez, Garcia, Davis, Arano (although I have questions regarding his health), and the better arm between VV/P.

          I think the position players on the list (Garlick, Grullon, Knapp, Quinn, and Williams) are all replacement level and can be replaced from within the organization or through free agency. And I addressed Cutch above.

          1. What this really shows is that we dint really currently have 15 quality players to protect. The team is not deep enough since we have to “find” players to fill out the 15. That’s not good.

            1. Many teams do not have 15 quality players to protect.
              Just look at one of the favorites to win the WS this year….the Yankees…..Judge, Torres, Cole, Frazier, maybe Sanchez, then they have plenty with big contracts who are older or injury prone, ie Stanton, Gardner, Hicks. Pitchers like Severino and Paxton have some injury concerns….Tanaka and Happ are aging….German domestic abuse issues.
              So it is not just the Phillies.

    1. Nice to hear that the Twins and Royals have decided to pay their minor leaguers through August, no releases at least until then. Could that turn the most recent trend?

    2. TJ Rivera was released as per Jon Heyman on Twitter. It isn’t yet known who else the Phillies released.

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