The 1997 Major League Baseball expansion draft was conducted by Major League Baseball on November 18, 1997 at the Phoenix Civic Center in Phoenix, AZ to stock the major league rosters of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks franchises.
Both expansion teams selected 35 players. The draft was divided into three rounds. Each team selected 14 players in round 1, 14 players in round 2, and 7 players in round 3. 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 league affiliates.
- 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.
- Players who were free agents after the end of the 1997 season need not be protected.
The draft order was determined by a coin toss, with winner of the toss choosing between:
- The first overall pick in the expansion draft, or...
- Allowing the other team to pick first and receiving both the second and third overall picks and the right to pick first in the subsequent rounds of the expansion draft.
Devil Rays Picks
Immediately following the draft, Tampa Bay made a number of trades:
- Bobby Abreu to the Philadelphia Phillies for Kevin Stocker
- Andy Sheets and Brian Boehringer to the San Diego Padres for John Flaherty
- Dmitri Young to the Cincinnati Reds (the team he had been drafted from) for Mike Kelly
- "Expansion teams draft prospects then get caught up in trade winds". Washington Times. November 19, 1997. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=WT&p_theme=wt&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB0F2C265841E7E&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
- Topkin, Marc (November 16, 1996). "Expansion team feels another draft coming". St. Petersburg Times: p. 9C.
- Pappas, Doug (October 1997). "Modern Expansion Teams Much Better Prepared". Boston Baseball. Society for American Baseball Research. http://roadsidephotos.sabr.org/baseball/bb97-8.htm.
- Associated Press (November 19, 1997). "Expansion Draft List". McCook Daily Gazette (McCook, NE): p. 12. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=gcghAAAAIBAJ&sjid=MJ4FAAAAIBAJ&pg=5874,2211557.