Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that he remains hopeful that “real progress” will be made on the Rays’ stadium efforts by the end of the year.
Manfred said the conversations between the team and Tampa Bay area officials are becoming more concrete, and he notes that they involve officials on both sides of the Bay.
Asked about the Rays status update during a session with the Baseball Writers Association of America in Seattle prior to the All-Star Game, Manfred said:
“It’s complicated. What I would say about the Rays is that they’ve been in contact with government bodies across the Gulf region. I think the conversations around the region have moved into more concrete territory in terms of ongoing conversations. I said I was hopeful there would be progress Real there in 23 and I’m still hopeful.”
The Rays are in formal discussions with St. Petersburg and Pinellas County officials to reach agreements for a new stadium on the site of the Tropicana Field and a massive redevelopment of the entire area known as the Historic Gas Plant District.
They also said they are still in touch with Tampa and Hillsboro County representatives. County Commissioner Ken Hagan said last week that there are those responsible “Dangerously close” to making an offer and opening negotiations.
Stewart Sternberg, principal owner of Rays, said on opening day that he expects to close a deal somewhere in the Tampa Bay area by the end of the year. “That’s my belief. It’s a very reasonable expectation,” he said on March 30. “And if we don’t do that, there’s no deal to be done, basically.”
There have been stories in each of the past two months of groups seeking to buy Rays based on information from anonymous sources. In response, Sternberg said in a statement: “I expect that we will build a stadium in Tampa Bay that will keep the Rays here for generations to come. I also plan to remain the owner of the Rays.”
Aranda was chosen for Durham
Player Josh Lowe was reinstated Tuesday from the family medical emergency list after missing Saturday and Sunday games due to an undisclosed matter. Player Jonathan Aranda, who was called up from Triple A and went 1-for-8, was optioned back to Durham. The Rays resume play Friday in Kansas City.
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