One of the biggest reasons for the impasse between the Rays and the city of St. Petersburg regarding a new Rays stadium is that mayor Bill Fosterand the St. Pete council has refused to allow the Rays to look at stadium sites outside St. Petersburg, and the Rays have always refused to look at any individual site until given permission to look at every possible site within the Tampa Bay area. But a member of the St. Pete council has come up with a proposal that he hopes will finally end the stalemate. According to Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Tribune, councilman Charlie Gerdes came up with the idea that the Rays could look at stadium sites outside St. Petersburg over the next year in exchange for a $1.4MM “exploration fee,” an amount based on the amount of money St. Pete paid the Rays in 2012 for miscellaneous stadium costs, with additional time to look available for an additional cost. That monetary value is not very high at all, but the logic behind it being that sites within St. Pete and Pinellas County, specifically the Carillon proposal, are as strong as anywhere in Hillsborough County and places that the Rays could realistically choose as the spot of their next stadium. The Rays have previously stated that their first call would be to Darryl LeClair, the developer behind the Carillon proposal. The $1.4MM fee seems like something that Bill Foster would never agree to, but O’Donnell notes that the St. Pete charter does not allow the mayor to veto amendments to contracts between the city and third parties. Foster will still try to convince the council not to go through with the proposed amendment, but if the St. Pete council agrees to pass the amendment, there’s nothing he can do. If this amendment actually happens, this could be a major development in the Rays’ stadium situation and substantially expedite the process of resolving this whole stadium issue and solidifying the Rays’ place in Tampa Bay moving forward. Stay tuned to see what happens with those proposal, because this could be something big.
Remember big, tall lefty Mark Hendrickson? The former Devil Rays starting pitcher and NBA player who ended up with the Baltimore Orioles from 2009 to 2011, Hendrickson, now 38 years old, is coming back, having signed a minor league contract with the Orioles after sitting out for all of 2012. Hendrickson had one of the funniest careers in the history of the Rays, winning 10 games with a 4.81 ERA for the D-Rays in 2004 and then 11 with a 5.90 ERA in 2005 before managing a 3.81 ERA in his first 13 starts of 2006, and somehow that gave him enough trade value to be dealt along with Toby Hall for a package of three players highlighted by Dioner Navarro, who would be a major part in the Rays’ 2008 World Series run. Hendrickson managed just a 5.05 ERA in his two and a half years with the Rays, but he played a role in the Rays success through that trade for Navarro and for that, Rays fans should be appreciative. Good luck to Hendrickson as he tries to return to the major leagues.