Mets threaten action after Beltran opts for surgery

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beltran_100113.jpgAs if the Mets haven’t had enough bad news to deal with in the past year, star center fielder Carlos Beltran underwent surgery on his right knee on Wednesday and will miss the start of the season.

In addition to Beltran missing time, the Mets are apparently rankled that he used his personal physician for the procedure, and did not give their “blessing,” according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

And for now, the Mets and one of their key players are clearly in conflict. A person familiar with the situation told the Post that the Commissioner’s Office and the Players Association have been alerted that “the Mets are claiming this was done without clearance and that the Mets are threatening to take some form of action. There is a potential issue out there.”

It’s unclear what action, if any, the Mets could take, and Sherman theorizes that it’s unlikely the team could do anything given that (a) Beltran has kept them in the loop all along, and (b) the doctor Beltran is using has a sterling reputation.

Beltran’s agent Scott Boras told the AP that the language in the player’s contract only requires the team be given written permission for elective operations.

“This was necessary surgery, necessary surgery to work,” Boras told The Associated Press.

The Mets might claim that the operation was elective.

Regardless of what happens, this is terrible news for the Mets as they try to recover from a nightmare 2009 season.

They had a rash of injuries last season, finishing fourth in the NL East at 70-92 after entering the season with expectations of challenging the Philadelphia Phillies for the division crown. Beltran was one of the players to miss time in 2009, sitting out 2  1/2 months with a bone bruise on his knee. He hit .325 with a .415 on-base percentage in just 81 games.

Now he has more problems with his knee and the team is angry. What else could go wrong?

Rays stadium project dead, team stuck in Tropicana Field until 2027

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LAS VEGAS — Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg appeared at the Winter Meetings a few minutes ago and said that the project which was intended to result in a new ballpark for the team in Ybor City neighborhood of Tampa has fallen apart. No new ballpark will be built and the three-year window granted to the team by the City of St. Petersburg to negotiate for a new ballpark will come to a close without any deal. The Tampa Bay Rays appear to be stuck in Tropicana Field through 2027.

Sternberg’s statement came mere hours after it was reported that Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred sent a sternly-worded letter to Hillsborough County officials, blasting the framework for the deal for the new stadium in Ybor City, saying it lacked specifics and criticized “the actual level commitment” from the public side. It’s not unreasonable to read that as the Commissioner’s dissatisfaction with how much public money the County was pledging to complete the project.

In his comments this morning Sternberg noted that the Rays had worked “for ten years” to get a new stadium and that they’d continue to try to work to that end, but the team’s options are extremely limited. The Rays are party to what has been described as an iron-clad lease for Tropicana Field, lasting through 2027. Until three years ago the Rays were  prohibited from even talking to anyone about building a new ballpark outside of St. Petersburg. In December 2015 St. Pete granted the team a window to negotiate with Hillsborough County which Sternberg called “very generous.” It is now closing, however, and Sternberg said that there are no plans to ask St. Petersburg officials for a new one.

Which means that the Rays are likely stuck in Tropicana Field through 2027. While Sternberg talked of being creative and searching for any and all available options, he likewise said that “we need to figure out where the 2028 season will be played.”