Could baseball return to Montreal?

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The Montreal Gazette is reporting that one of Canada’s great cities could once again be a home for a Major League Baseball team as long as a new stadium is built in the downtown area. A study was performed by Ernst and Young and the law firm BCF, which found that it would cost Montreal $525 million to acquire a new team and $500 million to build a new stadium.

More on the study from the Gazette:

The study said, based on the information collected and a “conservative analysis,” the return of baseball would be financially viable under “a set of realistic assumptions.” They include “a modest but competitive payroll, average ticket prices in line with league averages, and a local broadcasting rights deal in line with other similar MLB markets.”

The study suggested a 36,000 seat open-air stadium in the downtown area and cites Minnesota’s Target Field as a model.

Montreal lost the Expos after the 2004 season. The franchise moved to Washington, D.C. and became the Nationals, suffering the same run of mediocrity the Expos went through during much of the 1970’s through the 1990’s. However, they broke a 21-year playoff drought in 2012, winning the NL East behind first-round pick phenoms Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. They finished in second place behind the Braves in 2013.

Obviously, this is far from becoming a reality, but that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate which teams would be a good fit. A’s it cold in here or just me?

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.