The mayor of Tampa says a downtown stadium for the Rays is “within reach”

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Interesting thing I did not know until now: St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster lost his reelection bid on Tuesday. This could be significant inasmuch as Foster was the primary force behind St. Pete’s unwavering insistence that the Rays stick to their Tropicana Field lease and not pursue other stadium options elsewhere. Maybe his successor and the city council don’t change the stance — money is money and leases are leases after all — but it could signal change.

Against that backdrop, Tampa’s Mayor talked big about a Rays stadium in downtown Tampa yesterday:

 Mayor Bob Buckhorn on Thursday told a gathering of hospitality officials that a downtown ballpark for the Tampa Bay Rays is within reach, despite challenges that persist. “It’s either going to be Tampa or someplace else, not St. Petersburg,” Buckhorn told 100 members attending the Hillsborough County Hotel and Motel Association’s annual luncheon.

His statements imply that Tampa would be willing to help finance a parch as well. He mentioned a couple of sites and said that a financing plan that did not include a “taxpayer giveaway” would need to be put in place. That’s a clever bit of nuance there. If it were to be all private he’d say a plan that did not include “taxpayer funds.” He seems to be OK with public money being used as long as someone — someone pro-ballpark — can characterize it as smart or responsible as opposed to a “giveaway.” And there is always someone who is willing to do that even if it’s disingenuous in the extreme to do so.

But that’s Tampa’s problem. With Foster leaving office and Tampa’s mayor talking like this, one suspects that we’re in for a new act in the Rays ballpark drama.

Report: Blue Jays sign Curtis Granderson to one-year, $5 million deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported on Monday night that the Blue Jays have signed outfielder Curtis Granderson to a one-year, $5 million deal. The contract is pending a physical and includes performance incentives.

Granderson, who turns 37 years old in March, spent last season with the Mets and Dodgers, batting an aggregate .212/.323/.452 with 26 home runs and 64 RBI in 527 plate appearances. He struggled offensively after going to the Dodgers, mustering a paltry .654 OPS. He went 1-for-15 in the playoffs as well.

The Blue Jays will likely platoon Granderson in the corner outfield. His career OPS is 158 points higher versus right-handed pitchers than against left-handers.