Tampa Bay Rays

Rays announcing new stadium site today

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The Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays are going to host a press conference this afternoon to announce that they’ve settled on a preferred site for a new ballpark. It’s across the bay in Hillsborough County, near Ybor City in Tampa.

This is good news given how long the Rays have looked for a way to replace their antiquated ballpark in St. Petersburg. For most of the last decade, in fact, the Rays were prohibited from even looking outside of the St. Pete city limits. It’s definitely forward progress on getting out of Tropicana Field.

There is still a long way to go, however, before the Rays are out of their poured concrete mausoleum, with the distance measured in dollars, not miles. A new ballpark will likely cost around three-quarters of a billon dollars and, as always, figuring out who is going to pay for that will be no easy task.

The Times reports that Rays ownership proposed putting forth only $150 million for the place and letting taxpayers handle the rest. Can’t blame him for asking given how easily so many other municipalities have rolled over for baseball teams in the past. That doesn’t make it any less ridiculous of an offer, of course. Maybe someone should tell the Rays and Hillsborough county about how Cobb County, Georgia is gonna close libraries because it can’t afford to operate them due to the massive debt service it’s paying for the Braves’ new ballpark.

It’ll be a nice announcement today, though. Followed, eventually, by some super sexy architectural renderings of a new Rays park and a vibrant entertainment district nearby. Pay less attention to that than the negotiations over financing. That’s where the real game is.

 

Report: J.D. Martinez signing delayed by medical issue

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The Red Sox reportedly inked free agent outfielder J.D. Martinez to a five-year, $110 million contract last Monday, but there appears to be a slight hitch in the process. According to a report from Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston, the team is sorting through a medical issue that has delayed the signing. The specific nature of the issue has yet to be revealed, though Drellich adds that both the team and agent Scott Boras have involved additional medical experts in the process.

For what it’s worth, Martinez remained fairly healthy during his 2017 run with the Tigers and Diamondbacks. The 30-year-old outfielder spent six weeks on the disabled list after suffering a right foot sprain during camp, but managed to make a full recovery by mid-May and didn’t relapse once throughout the rest of the year. Of course, the medical issue holding up his new contract could be of an entirely different nature.

While spring training is already underway for the rest of the Red Sox, club manager Alex Cora doesn’t appear too concerned by Martinez’s absence — yet. “The thing I can do is my thing,” he told MLB.com’s Ian Browne. “My job here is to show up every day and get ’em ready.”