Even their spring training home is down on the Red Sox

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Fort Myers mayor Randy Henderson said this week that he wishes that Lee County had let the Red Sox walk rather than build the team’s new spring training home, which opened last year.

The new JetBlue Park was originally supposed to cost $77.9 million, but it sounds like the county ended up spending considerably more.

“It would have been smarter to let the Red Sox move on,” Henderson said. “I would debate that we wouldn’t be any worse off, in fact, I think we would be better off.”

As is, Lee County is set to spend $436 million on its three ballparks over the next 32 years. That includes the new park, an enhanced facility for the Twins to keep them on par with the Red Sox and what’s still owed on vacant City of Palms Park, the former home of the Red Sox.

The Fort Myers News-Press breaks it all down here. The article also mentions how Lee County is trying to lure the Nationals to the Red Sox’s old facility, though there’s little optimism about a deal being struck.

Tigers sign Josh Thole to minors deal

Josh Thole
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The Tigers signed catcher Josh Thole to a minor league deal, per an announcement from the Double-A Erie SeaWolves on Friday. Thole is expected to report to Double-A Erie, where he’ll split time with starting catcher Jake Rogers.

Thole, 31, has not appeared in a major or minor league game since 2016. He signed a minors deal with the Diamondbacks back in 2017, but was sidelined through most of the season after undergoing hamstring surgery in April. He was released by the team during spring training and failed to catch on with another major league club through the first two months of the 2018 season.

While the veteran backstop hasn’t tested his skills in pro ball for several years now, he held his own during a short-lived run with the independent New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League. Over 17 games in 2018, Thole batted .317/.425/.367 with three extra-base hits and a .791 OPS in 75 plate appearances. He’s expected to serve as catching depth within the Tigers’ organization, but may yet work his way back to the majors if he can get his average back over the Mendoza Line again — a feat he hasn’t managed since 2015.