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.
If it were up to him, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would finish the remainder of his career in Toronto. In fact, he’d be “ticked pink” if the club decided to sign him to a long-term deal. Whether the Blue Jays share that sentiment is still unclear, as Donaldson said Saturday that the team has yet to engage his agent in extension talks.
“I’ve said that I wanted to be here,” he told MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “That’s pretty much all I can say. I’m not the one who makes the decisions, nor would I try to put them in the position to do that. Like I said, I believe the situation will become more fluid when the time is right.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean an extension is out of the question. The Blue Jays reached an unprecedented one-year, $23 million agreement with the three-time All-Star in arbitration, and have been reticent to field trade offers despite continued interest from the Cardinals this winter.
Donaldson, 32, is poised to enter his eighth season in the majors and fourth with the Blue Jays. In 2017, he batted .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs and a .944 OPS in 496 plate appearances, ranking sixth among all major league third baseman with 5.0 fWAR. He’s scheduled to enter free agency following the 2018 season.