The Blue Jays have trained in Dunedin, Florida since the team was founded. But their lease is up in 2017 and, though they say they’d like to stay in Dunedin, there is at least some level of flirtation between them and Fort Myers, which still has an empty City of Palms Park, the old Red Sox joint.
The Fort Myers News-Press reports that Lee County — which runs the Fort Myers facility — would love to have them. But that (a) there are a lot more Canadian tourists up where the Jays train now than down in Lee County; and (b) one of the things the Jays would most like is for the ballpark and the minor league training facility to be in one location, but City of Palms does not and cannot offer that.
As we’ve noted in the past, the Nats have had discussions with Lee County too, but that doesn’t seem to be going anyplace. And really, in a day and age when teams are getting ground-up facilities with all of the new amenities, it’s gotta be a hard sell to get anyone to move into an old park like City of Palms. At the very least there would have to be a lot of incentives to do so.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.