Manfred prefers Tampa to St. Pete for Rays but many factors

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LOS ANGELES — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred’s preferred location for a new Rays ballpark would be on the Tampa side of the bay rather than in St. Petersburg but he says the site alone won’t be a determining factor.

Tampa Bay’s lease at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the team has played since its inaugural season in 1998, expires after the 2027 season. The Rays said in January that Major League Baseball had rejected the team’s plan to split its season between Florida and Montreal.

Manfred said he had not spoken in recent weeks with Rays owner Stuart Sternberg for an update.

“I have always thought that a stadium on the other side of the causeway would be preferable in some respects,” Manfred told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Tuesday before the All-Star Game. “But there’s a variety of factors that have to be taken into account in terms of determining whether you’re going to be in St. Pete or in Tampa: What financing is available? What sites are available? How quickly you can get in the ground? It’s not just the location.”

Tampa Bay has drawn 676,296 at home this season and its 13,802 average is 28th among the 30 teams, ahead of only Miami (11,591) and Oakland (8,637).

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

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SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.