The Rays may soon be allowed to look for a new stadium site outside of St. Petersburg

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The Rays’ lease with St. Petersburg goes until 2027 and prohibits them from looking at new stadium sites outside of St. Pete. That may soon change, however, as the Tampa Bay Times reports that the team and the city may soon reach an agreement allowing the Rays to look in Hillsborough County — that’s Tampa — at potential sites. Part of this deal may also include the terms of a buyout of the St. Pete lease if and when the Rays want to move.

In the past, the previous mayor of St. Petersburg was staunchly against allowing the Rays to do anything like this. The new mayor is being more pragmatic, yet still desires that the Rays build a new ballpark in St. Pete. Short of that, he is of the view that the Rays aren’t likely to find a good site let alone anyone willing to help them pay for a new park in Tampa. His view seems to be “Go ahead and look all you want. You’ll be back, though.”

Still, this is more than the Rays have had for a while. And the idea that the city is willing to talk buyout could, eventually, pave the way for the Rays to move anyplace, be it Tampa or another city altogether.

Batting champion Luis Arraez beats Marlins in salary arbitration

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — AL batting champion Luis Arraez won his arbitration case and will get a $6.1 million salary from the Miami Marlins, who acquired the All-Star infielder from the Minnesota Twins last month.

Miami argued for $5 million during a hearing before John Stout, Mark Burstein and Scott Buchheit. Arraez received a raise from $2.2 million.

Marlins pitcher Jesus Luzardo went to a hearing and asked for a raise from $715,000 to $2.45 million, while Miami proposed $2.1 million. The case was heard by Stout, Melinda Gordon and Richard Bloch, who were expected to issue their decision.

Arraez hit .316 with eight homers, 49 RBIs and a .795 OPS last year for Minnesota, starting 61 games at first base, 34 at designated hitter and 31 at second. The 25-year-old was traded on Jan. 20 for starting pitcher Pablo Lopez and a pair of prospects: infielder Jose Salas and outfielder Byron Chourio.

Arraez is eligible for free agency after the 2026 season.

Luzardo, a 25-year-old left-hander, was 4-7 with a 3.32 ERA in 18 starts last year, striking out 120 and walking 35 in 100 1/3 innings. He is 13-18 with a 3.59 ERA in 45 starts and 16 relief appearances over four big league seasons.

Luzardo also is eligible for free agency after the 2026 season.

Seattle defeated Diego Castillo in the first salary arbitration decision this year, and the relief pitcher will get a raise to $2.95 million rather than his request of $3,225,000.

A decision is being held for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Twenty-two players remain scheduled for hearings, to take place through Feb. 17. Among them, utilityman Dylan Moore and the Seattle Mariners have a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.