In breaking news this afternoon, the Rays and St. Petersburg reportedly have a deal in place that would allow the team to explore outside Pinellas county for a new stadium.
It's possible that this agreement was put in place ahead of the Winter Meetings and only reached our ears now. Either way, the deal will need to be approved by the City Council, who meet on Thursday, to be finalized.
Mayor Rick Kriseman and the Tampa Bay Rays have reached an agreement to let the team search for new stadium sites in Hillsborough County in exchange for payments to the city if the team leaves before its contract at Tropicana Field expires in 2027.
Kriseman wants to the City Council to discuss the agreement at its meeting on Thursday.
Payments would be based on how many years would remain on the Trop lease if the Rays left, starting at $4 million a season until December 2018, dropping to $3 million a season from 2019 to 2022 and $2 million from 2023 through 2026.
This marks the second time such an agreement has been reached with the city, which failed to pass in a stalemate vote under previous Mayor Bill Foster. That deal was requesting a $1.42 million fee for exploration, substantially less than the agreed upon above.
On Sunday, the front page of the Tampa Bay Times explored seven locations in the city of Tampa for a new Rays stadium, an article we will discuss here tomorrow.
The team is expected to announce the deal tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM.