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The 1997 MLB Expansion Draft was held November
18, 1997. This expansion draft was conducted by Major
League Baseball to stock the major league rosters of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Arizona
Diamondbacks, new major league expansion
franchises that were set to start play in the 1998 season.
Tampa Bay was to join the American League East division,
displacing the Detroit Tigers (who moved to the
American League Central division, thus displacing the Milwaukee
Brewers, who moved to the National League Central division), and
Arizona joined the National League West division.
Each expansion franchise paid a fee of $130 million directly to
baseball's central fund, broken out as follows: $32 million in July
1995, $25 million in July 1996, $40 million in July 1997 and $33
million in November 1997. In addition, the two expansion teams gave
away their rights to $5 million from baseball's central fund for
each of the five years following expansion (1998-2002). This
brought the total franchise fee to $155 million for each team.
The draft was divided into three rounds. Each team would select
14 players in round 1, 14 players in round 2, and 7 players in
round 3. Thus, the Devil Rays and Diamondbacks gained 35 players
each. Tampa Bay general manager Chuck LaMar and Arizona general manager Joe
Garagiola, Jr. oversaw their teams' selections.
The Devil Rays and Diamondbacks could pick any player not on the
protected lists of the 28 other teams, although no team could lose
more than one player in a given round. The protected list for each
team consisted of:
- For the first round, 15 players from the rosters of their
entire organization—both their 40-man roster, plus all minor
- Each team could add three more players to its protected list
after each round.
- In addition to the above, players chosen in the 1996 and 1997
amateur drafts were automatically protected, plus players who were
18 or younger when signed in 1995.