The Houston Astrodome has sat empty for years and has been without a professional sports team since the Astros moved out 13 years ago. It has been considered “uninhabitable” for over three years, with its last use coming as a refugee center for Hurricane Katrina victims. The county still owes $30 million in construction debt on the nearly 50 year-old structure and has to pay a couple million a year for basic upkeep. Meanwhile, the cost to demolish it is thought to be upwards of $70 million. Renovating it for some use or another will be a couple hundred million. It’s a disaster, frankly.
And it’s a disaster that won’t be resolved anytime soon:
The dilemma of the deteriorating Houston Astrodome remained unresolved Tuesday with the passing of a deadline to put a bond referendum before voters in May. Harris County commissioners took no action on the ballot initiative to raise millions of dollars to do something with the 48-year-old vacant stadium. But no one’s really sure what to do with it.
A similar deadline last year to put the question before voters in November also came and went.
“We have waited for ideas for years and years on the dome,” Commissioner Steve Radack told The Houston Chronicle. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we wait years and years more before something happens.”
Eighth Wonders of the World ain’t what they used to be.
Former Tigers infielder Casey McGehee has reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
It’s the fourth move the corner infielder has made in the last two seasons after seeing short-term stints with the Marlins, Giants and Tigers. He signed a minor league deal with the Tigers prior to the 2016 season, providing the club with some infield depth behind 24-year-old Nick Castellanos. When Castellanos hit the disabled list in August with a broken hand, McGehee was recalled from Triple-A Toledo for a 30-game stint and slashed .228/.260/.239 with one extra-base hit in 96 PA. His career batting line (.258/.317/.384 over eight seasons) isn’t too shabby, but his age and a long history of knee injuries puts a damper on his potential.
McGehee last appeared in the NPB circuit in 2013, when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. He spent the bulk of his season at the hot corner, batting an impressive .292/.396/.515 with 28 homers in 590 PA and appearing in the Eagles’ first and only championship run to date.
The deal comes with a club option for 2018, Rosenthal reports, though no figure has been specified.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.