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2023 MLB All-Star Red Carpet: Baseball’s Best Sound Off on League Expansion, Rule Changes & More

Boardroom was on the MLB All-Star red carpet to hear players weigh in on who will get the next monster contract, where MLB should expand, what rule changes they’d like to see, and more.

Baseball stars past, present, and future lit up the Seattle skies as MLB All-Star week descended on the Pacific Northwest for the first time since 2001.

At two separate red carpet events — the MLB Players Association party Monday night hosted by the MLBPA, Lids, and Topps and the official MLB red carpet outside Pike’s Place Market — baseball luminaries weighed in on topics ranging from the next big superstar contract to where MLB should expand next and everything in between.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

After Shohei Ohtani signs his mega contract following this season, who’s going to get the next $300-400 million contract?

Pete Alonso, 1B, New York Mets: Juan Soto.

Corbin Carroll, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks: Gotta be a young guy. Maybe Elly De La Cruz.

Gerrit Cole, SP, New York Yankees: Definitely Soto. That’s an easy one.

Josiah Gray, SP, Washington Nationals: If not Soto, someone like Julio Urias.

Josh Hader, RP, San Diego Padres: Juan Soto, for sure. He may make $400 million.

Felix Hernandez, Former SP, Seattle Mariners: It should either be Julio Rodriguez — I already know he signed — but he will get there, or Juan Soto.

Jordan Lawlar, MLB No. 6 prospect SS, Arizona Diamondbacks: Corbin Carroll.

Pablo Lopez, SP, Minnesota Twins: Has to be Soto. And it’s going to be for a lot of money, too.

Whit Merrifield, 2B/OF, Toronto Blue Jays: Probably the guy who just won the Home Run Derby, our guy Vladdy.

Austin Riley, 3B, Atlanta Braves: Probably Elly De La Cruz from Cincinnati. I was there when he hit for the cycle against us and for the quick second I’ve seen him, he’s been electric.

CC Sabathia, future Hall of Fame SP, New York Yankees: Soto.

Will Smith, C, Los Angeles Dodgers: Probably Soto.

Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros: Probably Soto.

What MLB rule change would you want to see next to help maximize your earning power?

Alonso: On a 3-2 count, pitchers are only allowed to throw fastballs.

Carroll: I’d be cool with them moving the fences in a little bit.

Cole: No luxury tax.

Gray: If a hitter looks at a strike, you get two strikes.

Hader: One strike per strikeout.

Hernandez: A time-out for the pitcher.

Lawlar: Two pickoff attempts for pitchers instead of three.

Lopez: I wish a walk was five balls instead of four.

Merrifield: When you reach base, it counts toward your on-base percentage. Whether that’s a fielder’s choice, getting on first because of an error.

Riley: On a 2-0 count, the pitcher has to throw a fastball.

Sabathia: I want the automatic strike zone, but I think that would’ve killed me.

Smith: Move the fences in so I could hit more homers.

Tucker: Less fielders. I’d probably get more hits.

If MLB added two expansion teams right now, where would you put them?

Alonso: Nashville and Portland, Oregon.

Carroll: Portland because the Northwest needs another team, and maybe Nashville.

Cole: They’re already going to Vegas, but that’s not expansion. Nashville’s a really popular choice and Orlando.

Gray: Nashville and bring back Montreal.

Hader: For sure Nashville, Tennessee.

Hernandez: Las Vegas and New Orleans.

Lawlar: Nashville and let’s go Brooklyn again.

Lopez: Another one in Canada. I played in Toronto for the first time this year and I think Canada needs another one. And Mexico City. I know batters would love it.

Merrifield: Nashville and Charlotte.

Riley: Nashville and Charlotte.

Sabathia: Nashville and Salt Lake City.

Tucker: Las Vegas and Nashville.

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Which owner from a different sport would you most want to play for?

Alonso: Honestly, I don’t know. I think we have the best owner in all of sports, so I don’t think I’d want to play for anyone else.

Carroll: Soccer would be the sport, but I’m not sure which owner.

Cole: I think I’d be a quarterback and I think I might play for Jerry Jones.

Gray: The owner of the Warriors. I’m not sure his name, but he’s kept that core for so long. So he’s committed to winning and they’re always adding.

Hader: Mark Cuban.

Lawlar: Mat Ishbia.

Hernandez: Michael Jordan.

Lopez: I love playing tennis. So I’d want to be a tennis player. I know that’s the ATP and you’d be playing on your own, but tennis is my other sport.

Merrifield: Mark Cuban.

Sabathia: Mark Cuban.

Smith: Mark Cuban.

Tucker: Soccer would personally be my second sport, so I’d go somewhere over in Europe to play. I’d love to play forward, it’d probably be the most fun.

What’s your best travel tip for road trips?

Alonso: You don’t need as much as you think.

Cole: I like to ask for extra shower caps and put them over the bottom of my shoes in the luggage so that the bottoms of the shoes don’t get your clothes dirty.

Gray: Just get comfortable. Whether that’s taking your shoes off, watching a movie, just enjoy the travel. I watch whatever’s on HBO Max you can download quick like Judas and the Black Messiah.

Hader: Get looser slides, so they act like slippers. Take your shoes off and you put your slides on and you’re comfortable in your room.

Hernandez: I’m not the right person to ask because I’m not such a good traveler. I take a lot of suitcases. I’d be bad at it.

Lawlar: Keep it all concise. Keep it all packed up and organized.

Lopez: Do not overpack. You will need less than you think you do. So take as little with you as possible.

Merrifield: Don’t forget your toiletry bag.

Riley: You’ve got to get some gaming in on the road. I play Fortnite with my brother. I hold my own.

Sabathia: Overpack.

Smith: Pack light.

Tucker: The biggest thing that helped me was packing the night before. The panic pack in the morning was a struggle for a while.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

Alonso: Don’t spend it all in one place.

Carroll: Just surround yourself with the right people.

Cole: You can’t have enough municipal bonds.

Gray: Always vet who you’re going into business with, vet everyone. Even family, with intentions and everything like that.

Hader: Don’t try to be perfect.

Hernandez: Just listen to the really good people.

Lawlar: You can learn something from everybody, so never count anybody out and always try to learn.

Lopez: Make choices and don’t look back.

Merrifield: Don’t buy anything that fucks, flies, or floats.

Riley: Save your money.

Sabathia: Just be patient in investing.

Smith: Invest your money wisely.

Tucker: If you know how good you are as a person or as a player, trust yourself in whatever you’re doing and go from there.

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