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St. Petersburg council rejects plan to let the Rays look at out-of-town stadium sites

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Earlier this week we wrote about this long shot bill to allow the Tampa Bay Rays to look outside of St. Petersburg for potential stadium cites. Well, forget it:

A proposal to let the Tampa Bay Rays examine stadium sites in Hillsborough County went nowhere Thursday. St. Petersburg City Council members even rejected a motion to have their attorney evaluate the proposal’s legal implications.

There is basically zero incentive for the city to give anything to the Rays, so it’s probably not too surprising.

The article goes on to report that Rays owner Stuart Sternberg will possibly speak to the St. Pete council soon. When he spoke to other regional bodies recently he went on about how Major League Baseball finds the Rays’ situation untenable and may contract them or something.  I hope someone on the council grills Sternberg on this and reveals just how empty a threat it is.*

UPDATE: That last sentence was probably unfair. I looked back at the historical back and forth about the Rays stadium situation. While many people have thrown contraction out there as a possibility — and while I continue to believe that such a possibility is ludicrous given  the logistics that would be involved in contraction — Sternberg himself has not threatened contraction.  He has noted MLB’s lack of confidence in St. Petereburg as a baseball market and, when pressed, once said that the franchise could be “vaporized,” but he has never used the threat of contraction when talking to St. Petereburg, Hillsborough County or other players in the game down there.

Justin Verlander: “I’d like to see the AL and NL have the same rules… I vote NL rules.”

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 10:  Starting pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on August 10, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”

Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:

To that, Archer said:

For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.

Rusney Castillo disappoints again by not running out a routine grounder

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 18:  Rusney Castillo #38 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after he was caught off third base for the third out of the third inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on August 18, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox inked Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract back in August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:

“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”

Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.

That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.