Quick Hits: Rays Ballpark, Rockies, Bleday

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A new ballpark in the Ybor City area of Tampa would cost roughly $892MM, as per a study commissioned by the Tampa Sports Authority.  According to Charlie Frago and C.T. Bowen of The Tampa Bay Times, the price tag would cover a ballpark with a 27K capacity, intended to be the Rays’ new home stadium for an entire season, rather than a split-season situation like the Rays’ now-scuttled proposal to play games in both Tampa and Montreal.

The cost of the Ybor City ballpark includes a roof, which is essential for playing games in Florida during the summer.  (The Rays wouldn’t be using the stadium for Spring Training games, as the team may be planning a new spring camp site in nearby Pasco County.)  Public revenue for the ballpark could be raised by some increased property taxes on local developers within the “ballpark district,” though it remains to be seen how much of the total cost would be covered by the city and how much would be covered by the Rays themselves.  The club previously indicated they would be willing to spend around $350MM towards construction of a new ballpark, though that was based on the concept of a stadium costing around $700MM and in use for only the non-Montreal portion of the schedule.  The Rays didn’t issue a public comment on the TSA’s study.

More from around the baseball world…

  • The Rockies made a point of overhauling their analytics department this winter, bringing several new employees into the research & development department from other teams and other non-baseball fields.  While the Rockies are often criticized for being an insular organization, these hirings indicate some acknowledgement that “adjustments were needed and fresh people needed to be brought in,” GM Bill Schmidt told The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders.  “There were, and are, a lot of good people here.  But…we needed some new ideas. We needed everybody pulling in the same direction.”
  • J.J. Bleday has yet to really break out in the Marlins’ farm system, with only a .224/.320/.374 slash line to show for 619 plate appearances in pro ball.  Of course, the fourth overall pick of the 2019 draft had his development set back by the canceled 2020 minor league season, and Bleday told The Miami Herald’s Jordan McPherson that he is heading into 2022 around 20 pounds heavier than he was at the start of last year’s Spring Training.  “I feel more grounded when I’m a little bit bigger, have more body control.  And then the main thing, just recovery. My sleep’s been better, and overall my body feels a lot more recovered,” Bleday said.  While his tough 2021 campaign resulted in several pundits dropping Bleday from their top-100 prospect rankings, there is already hope for a rebound.  Bleday made some swing changes and hit better over the last five weeks of the last minor league season, and he then posted a whopping 1.035 OPS over 115 PA in the Arizona Fall League.  With this performance in mind, McPherson feels Bleday will probably start 2022 with the Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate.

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