Manfred: Montreal considered a ‘frontrunner’ for future MLB expansion

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred speaks during a news conference. (AP)

Rob Manfred says Montreal and Mexico City are his two personal frontrunners for MLB expansion teams. While adding teams isn’t a front-burner issue for MLB, the commissioner said Montreal remains an appealing destination.

“Baseball’s a growth business and growth businesses tend to expand,” Manfred said on the Chicago White Sox broadcast Thursday. “For us I think there’s a couple of things that we need to get through. We need to get a new labour deal. We have a couple of franchises — Tampa and Oakland — that need to get their stadium situations resolved before we move ahead.

“Once we’re past that I would love to see us expand,” Manfred continued. “I think there are international locations. My personal, sort of, frontrunner would be either Montreal or Mexico City, where we could go plan on a sustained basis. I think it would be great for the growth of the game. I think Mexico City in particular would be new ground for us obviously.”

The Expos played in Montreal from 1969-2004, enjoying many successes before dwindling crowds, an outdated stadium and ineffective ownership contributed to their move to Washington for the 2005 season.

The Toronto Blue Jays have played two exhibition games in front of sold-out crowds at Olympic Stadium each of the last three springs, creating optimism that baseball could again succeed in Montreal.