Fort Myers mayor Randy Henderson said this week that he wishes that Lee County had let the Red Sox walk rather than build the team’s new spring training home, which opened last year.
The new JetBlue Park was originally supposed to cost $77.9 million, but it sounds like the county ended up spending considerably more.
“It would have been smarter to let the Red Sox move on,” Henderson said. “I would debate that we wouldn’t be any worse off, in fact, I think we would be better off.”
As is, Lee County is set to spend $436 million on its three ballparks over the next 32 years. That includes the new park, an enhanced facility for the Twins to keep them on par with the Red Sox and what’s still owed on vacant City of Palms Park, the former home of the Red Sox.
The Fort Myers News-Press breaks it all down here. The article also mentions how Lee County is trying to lure the Nationals to the Red Sox’s old facility, though there’s little optimism about a deal being struck.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.