Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays release renderings of desired new ballpark

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I say “desired” new ballpark because there is no deal in place to build this or any other ballpark yet. The Rays want it and, like any other baseball team, want someone else to pay for it, and the release of these artist’s renderings are a carefully-orchestrated part of the overall sales pitch to outsource their overhead to taxpayers and local business.

An entire webpage has been devoted to it called “Ballpark Reimagined,” which plays up the community’s suggestions for the park and talks about how closely the Rays are listening to the public throughout that process. Admirable, but — pardon my cynicism — clearly part of a campaign to get public buy-in in an effort to get public underwriting. “Hey, this is just as much your park as it is ours,” the Rays seem to be saying. That way, when the bill for it comes down, people will have less of a basis for objecting to paying it.

With that caveat noted — and no, I will not drop the matter of public financing of ballparks until multi-billion dollar businesses stop asking the public to finance ballparks — let us look at what the Rays hope to have someone build for them:

That’s a lot of glass which, hopefully, either does not face the southern/western sun or at least works like your dad’s transitions lenses. It’s also said to have only a 30,000 seat capacity, which (a) is pretty on-brand for the Rays; but (b) probably pretty nice from the perspective of fan experience. It’s also in keeping with Major League Baseball’s positioning of itself as a brand that would rather charge a ton for a small number of people to see the product than charge little for a large number of people to see it.

All in all, though: looks cool. The bar it has to hurdle in order to be an improvement over what they currently have is so low that it makes criticism seem rather beside the point right now. Either way, artist’s renderings at this stage are often very different than what ultimately gets built so we’ll reserve judgment. I mean, there aren’t any ads displayed in that park. Folks, there will be a lot of ads.

And, as I said before: understand that these are sales documents, not design documents, and judge on that basis.

UPDATE: But of course:

 

Dodgers acquire Manny Machado from Orioles for five minor leaguers

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The Orioles and Dodgers finally completed the trade involving Manny Machado, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. The Orioles will receive five prospects from the Dodgers: Yusniel Diaz, Dean Kremer, Zach Pop, Rylan Bannon, and Breyvic Valera.

Machado, 26, is in the final year of his contract, so this is currently a rental for the first-place Dodgers. Machado ended the first half batting .315/.387/.575 with 24 home runs, 65 RBI, 48 runs scored, and eight stolen bases in 413 plate appearances. In Los Angeles, he will handle shortstop, allowing Chris Taylor to move over to second base.

MLB Pipeline rated Diaz as the Dodgers’ No. 4 prospect and No. 84 across baseball. Kremer was No. 27 in the Dodgers’ system and Bannon was No. 28.

Diaz, 21, is considered the centerpiece of the trade. The outfielder hit .314/.428/.477 with 20 extra-base hits, 30 RBI, and 36 runs scored in 264 plate appearances at Double-A Tulsa this season.

Kremer, 22, was selected by the Dodgers in the 14th round of the 2016 draft. He spent most of his season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga before earning a promotion to Tulsa earlier this month. Overall, in 17 starts, the right-hander posted a 3.03 ERA with a 125/29 K/BB ratio in 86 innings.

Pop, 21, was selected by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2017 draft. He has spent his season between Rancho Cucamonga and Single-A Great Lakes. Overall, he compiled a 1.04 ERA with 47 strikeouts and 13 walks in 43 1/3 innings of relief.

Bannon, 22, was selected by the Dodgers in the eighth round of the 2017 draft. With Rancho Cucamonga this season, the infielder batted .296/.402/.559 with 20 home runs and 61 RBI in 403 PA.

Valera, 26, has appeared in 20 games at the major league level for the Dodgers this season, batting a meager .172 with a .445 OPS in 34 PA. Valera has versatility, having played second base, third base, and corner outfield this year while also having experience in center field, shortstop, and first base.