Rays owner Stuart Sternberg spoke with Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times this morning in the wake of the news that the team had reached a deal allowing it to search for a new stadium site in Hillsborough County. The big takeaway: he’s selling the team if he can’t get a new ballpark in the Tampa area.
Specifically, he said that if there is no new stadium in the are he won’t move team out of town, but that he would sell it and the new owner would probably move it:
“The chances of me owning this team in 2023 if we don’t have a new stadium are probably nil. Somebody else will take it and move it. It’s not a threat, just the reality. I won’t be sitting here 10 years from now waiting it out to move the team.”
Sternberg says that he still thinks baseball can work in the Tampa Bay area and that he’s going to try to make it work. But it certainly seems like he is set up to be its last chance there.
Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.
The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.
The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.