Rays announcing new stadium site today

Tampa Bay Rays
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The Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays are going to host a press conference this afternoon to announce that they’ve settled on a preferred site for a new ballpark. It’s across the bay in Hillsborough County, near Ybor City in Tampa.

This is good news given how long the Rays have looked for a way to replace their antiquated ballpark in St. Petersburg. For most of the last decade, in fact, the Rays were prohibited from even looking outside of the St. Pete city limits. It’s definitely forward progress on getting out of Tropicana Field.

There is still a long way to go, however, before the Rays are out of their poured concrete mausoleum, with the distance measured in dollars, not miles. A new ballpark will likely cost around three-quarters of a billon dollars and, as always, figuring out who is going to pay for that will be no easy task.

The Times reports that Rays ownership proposed putting forth only $150 million for the place and letting taxpayers handle the rest. Can’t blame him for asking given how easily so many other municipalities have rolled over for baseball teams in the past. That doesn’t make it any less ridiculous of an offer, of course. Maybe someone should tell the Rays and Hillsborough county about how Cobb County, Georgia is gonna close libraries because it can’t afford to operate them due to the massive debt service it’s paying for the Braves’ new ballpark.

It’ll be a nice announcement today, though. Followed, eventually, by some super sexy architectural renderings of a new Rays park and a vibrant entertainment district nearby. Pay less attention to that than the negotiations over financing. That’s where the real game is.

 

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.