Harper: Vegas better off with expansion than relocated franchise

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The Athletics’ future in Oakland remains uncertain as the franchise searches for a new ballpark. As a result, the A’s have been exploring options in Las Vegas since relocation appears to be on the table. 

However, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper, who grew up an A's fan, believes that if Vegas were to get an MLB franchise, it should be through expansion rather than relocation. 

“I think [Vegas needs] an expansion [team],” Harper told reporters Sunday. “I don’t think a team can come here and thrive, kind of like the [Vegas Golden Knights] did. 

“The Knights are an expansion team, and I think having a team like the Knights come in that’s an expansion it’s a lot different than having another Major League Baseball team come in here and try to thrive. So I think they definitely need to do an expansion if they’re going to come here.”

The A's remaining in Oakland likely has a bit of emotional attachment to Harper, who named them his favorite team as a 12-year-old playing in the 2005 Triple Crown Sports World Series.

The Phillies slugger almost ended up in the Bay Area in 2018 when trade rumors about his departure from the Washington Nationals began to swirl.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred addressed questions regarding the A’s ballpark quest in February. Manfred didn’t profess a specific preference between Oakland and Las Vegas, but a new stadium is needed in his eyes. 

“I think [A’s owner John Fisher] wants to make the best deal to secure the future of the A’s, whether it’s in Oakland or Las Vegas,” Manfred said during Cactus League Media Day in Arizona. 

“They need a new stadium. I think that’s kind of beyond debate. If he had to rank them one and two, you’d have to ask him that.”

RELATED: Athletics' Jesus Aguilar hopes to help 'build something good' with Oakland

The stadium and relocation talk will continue to hang over the A’s as the 2023 MLB season approaches.

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