Manfred sees progress as Rays seek options

Manfred sees progress as Rays seek options

ST. PETERSBURG -- MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke at Target Field in Minnesota on Friday, addressing the Rays' ballpark issue among his comments.

"Our two most acute challenges are in Tampa and Oakland," Manfred said. "We're working closely with ownership with both Oakland and Tampa. They're in similar spots in the process, trying to identify a site that would be most advantageous for a new ballpark.

"Oakland has two or three sites they're considering, and, as has been suggested, this year they'll settle on one point for the best site. In Tampa, hats off to the local governments in Tampa and St. Pete. They've agreed the Rays should have the availability to look for the best site in the Tampa-St. Pete area, whether it falls on the Tampa or St. Pete side. I think that's a positive development. I remain hopeful each club will be able to identify a new park in each market and get a facility built. Both cities need Major League-quality facilities."

Manfred also addressed the subject of relocation.

"My strong preference, consistent with baseball's long tradition, is to keep our franchises in the markets where they currently play," Manfred said. "We ask our fans to make tremendous commitments to our franchises at 81 home games a year. I see relocating a team as really a last resort in terms of dealing with our situations in Oakland and Tampa."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.