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New spring training deal includes outfield boardwalk, Tiki bar

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Your morning update for everything Blue Jays.

Minor League Baseball: Tampa Yankees at Dunedin Blue Jays
Aug 27, 2017; Dunedin, FL, USA; A general view of Florida Auto Exchange Stadium as the game between the Tampa Yankees and Dunedin Blue Jays was canceled due to weather. 
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

New details that emerged yesterday from the city of Dunedin’s deal with the Toronto Blue Jays for a renovated spring training home show plans for a “good-sized ‘tiki’ bar,” an outfield boardwalk and field dimensions that exactly match those at the Rogers Centre, Shi Davidi reports.

The $81 million deal has yet to be finalized, but it was approved in a city commission meeting last week. Davidi outlines the finances of the deal in his article:

Dunedin’s unanimous vote in favour of $5.6 million in funding along with an additional $100,000 for capital expenses in each of Years 6-10 of a 25-year lease pushed the process toward its end game, with Pinellas County next in line to approve an outlay of $41.7 million. Once that is in place, an application for $13.7 million from a state fund earmarked for spring training facilities will be made no later than Dec. 31 to complete the funding puzzle.

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Other teams based in Florida for spring training have applied for and received the state funding in the past. For the Dunedin project, the money would be paid out in 20 yearly instalments of $1 million, with Dunedin issuing a bond to fetch the net-present value of $13.7 million.

The Blue Jay organization is expected to commit $20 million towards the renovated facilities.

Florida Auto Exchange Stadium renovations are set at $33,259,901, while the Bobby Mattick Training Center renovations currently rest at $47,784,290.

April 2018 is the expected start date.


Yesterday, the Blue Jays claimed pitcher Taylor Guerrieri off of waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays. Guerrieri has yet to make an appearance in the majors, but he’s pitched parts of six seasons in Tampa Bay’s minor league system.

In an injury-ridden 2017 season, Guerrieri pitched in just two games in triple-A. In 2016, his last full season, he posted an ERA of 3.76 in 28 games, 26 of which were starts. He was drafted in the first round by the Rays in 2011 and will turn 25 years old on December 1st of this year.

Although, at the time of the transaction, Guerrieri filled the final spot on the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster, Leonel Campos, Taylor Cole, Rafael Lopez and Luis Santos were subsequently outrighted off of the roster.


Former Blue Jay quality control coach Derek Shelton was hired by the Minnesota Twins to be their new bench coach yesterday, leaving the Blue Jays with a void in their coaching staff.

Shelton, who joined the Blue Jays at the start of 2017 to replace the role of assistant hitting coach previously filled by Eric Owens, is the only member of the 2017 staff that will not be returning in 2018.

Shelton will be working under AL Manager of the Year finalist and former Blue Jay Paul Molitor.


Other news and links:

  • The Boston Red Sox held a news conference to introduce their new manager Alex Cora. Cora told Boston media that he spoke on the phone with David Price prior to the World Series. Cora will wear number 28 in honour of his brother.
  • The quarrel between Joe Girardi and the New York Yankees continues, as Yankees GM Brian Cashman tells the media that Girardi didn’t communicate well with players and the front office.
  • The finalists for Cy Young, MVP, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year were announced yesterday, and the nominations don’t feature many surprises.
  • Marcus Stroman will be featured on the Canadian cover of MLB The Show 18.
  • It’s Buck Martinez’s 69th birthday.