I fully acknowledge that the Rays’ stadium situation is terrible, but I don’t get this at all. Last month, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said that St. Petersburg is “not viable” as a home for the Rays, that he wanted to be in Tampa and, at the very least, wanted the entire region to woo his team as if it were a gift from the heavens above.
In light of that, if you’re the mayor of St. Petersburg, how don’t you simply not say “good luck, Stu!” and see what happens? The Rays are locked in their lease. They have absolutely no leverage to extract anything out of you. Sure, it might be nice if they stayed, but as the mayor of a city with unemployment problems and other priorities, how do you spend even an ounce of time on the Rays’ problems?
Don’t ask St. Pete’s Mayor Bill Foster, because he’s in the paper today talking about various options that might make the Rays happy. He’s submitting them to the city council and then will seek the Rays’ OK.
Look, I don’t for a moment pretend to know the ins and outs of Bay Area politics, but can someone explain to me why cities routinely bend over backwards to make sports franchises happy like this?
Update (5:16 PM ET): ESPN’s Pedro Gomez is reporting that the deal is final.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.
Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.
The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.
The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.