The central fact of the Rays miserable stadium situation is that they are contractually bound to St. Pete and the mayor there has threatened suit if the Rays even talk to anyone about a possible stadium in Tampa. But there is now a glimmer of hope:
City Council member Charlie Gerdes placed a proposal on Thursday’s council agenda that would give the team three years to investigate new stadium sites in either Hillsborough or Pinellas counties in exchange for a payment equal to the city’s annual operating subsidy on Tropicana Field, currently about $1.42 million.
But it’s not much of a glimmer, as no one gives the amendment a great chance of passing.
But it’s something. It’s evidence that least someone on the St. Pete city council is amenable to letting the Rays out of their lease. Maybe, eventually, more people will come around to a negotiated solution.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.