New York City to invest in the development around Citi Field

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I’ve not been to Citi Field, but I’ve flown in to LaGuardia a bunch and have seen the blight surrounding it. It’s a lot of junkyards and derelict warehouses and, presumably, is a wonderful place to stash dead bodies and stuff. But soon it will be shimmering with commerce, hotels and housing:

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration has announced an agreement with a group of developers that includes the owners of the New York Mets to clean up and develop a blighted neighborhood next to the team’s stadium.

The agreement was announced Thursday. It covers a 20-acre portion of Willets Point in Queens, where Citi Field is located.

The developers include the Mets owners themselves, via their company Sterling Equities. And it is estimated to be a $3 billion deal of some kind, presumably with a healthy municipal investment.

Just something else to remember the next time someone claims that a publicly-financed ballpark will spur local development. Sure it will. A decade later and only with a zillion dollars of more tax funds.

American draft prospect Carter Stewart signs in Japan

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The Atlanta Braves selected high school pitcher Carter Stewart with the number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft. Then, after the draft, they gave Stewart a below-slot signing bonus offer, claiming that they found problems with his wrist in his post-draft physical. Stewart ended up rejecting the offer and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Braves on Stewart’s behalf.

The grievance sought to make Stewart a free agent it was considered a long shot at the time of its filing and, in fact, the grievance was rejected. Stewart, unable to attain free agency, enrolled at Eastern Florida State College, a two-year school that would’ve made him eligible for the 2019 draft.

Now, Ken Rosenthal reports, Stewart has pulled a crazy Ivan and is heading to Japan, having signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Rosenthal says Stewart was looking for a $7 million guarantee.

It’s a fascinating turn of events for Stewart who, this time last year, was considered perhaps the best amateur pitcher in baseball. Being lowballed and having his health questioned by the Braves may have been a wakeup call to Stewart, however, about his chances of finding a quick path the bigs in the U.S. If the shine did come off of his prospect status in the past year here, there’s every reason to believe that $7 million and a path to the bigs in Japan is a much better deal than several million less and a path to the bigs in America.

He’ll be worth watching over the next few years, that’s for sure. Both for his own sake and to see if, in this era of Major League Baseball’s capping of amateur bonuses and teams’ habit of manipulating service time, going overseas becomes more attractive to American high schoolers and college players.