Blue Jays GM: Proposed spring training facility upgrades could keep team in Dunedin
DUNEDIN - A top Toronto Blue Jays official confirmed Friday that the club is exploring potential changes to Dunedin's spring training facilities that might persuade the team not to move.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said the team's "No. 1 desire" was to consolidate its stadium and practice space, which are 3.5 miles apart. That was the reason the team gave for exploring a partnership with the Houston Astros on a joint-use stadium on Florida's east coast.
However, he said the Jays are also weighing their lengthy relationship with Dunedin, where the team has trained since 1977. The team, he said, is "committed" to exploring whether it can "make things work" in Dunedin.
The Jays' lease expires in 2017, and the team has two five-year renewal options.
"To be completely candid," Anthopoulos said, "we're still going to be open-minded if someone does approach us about an unbelievable opportunity where we can merge both facilities. ... With that said, it's not going to be done at all costs. It's important to have a good location, it's important to have a good partner."
He added, "We realize it may not be possible in Dunedin to merge both the minor-league complex and the big league complex. But ... we may be able to expand some things, change some things, meet in the middle ...If they can do some of those things, why move?"
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Anthopoulos' comments come as MLB.com and other media organizations report that the Astros are now partnering with the Washington Nationals in their pursuit of a two-team stadium in Palm Beach County. Proposed plans for an Astros-Jays complex fell apart amid community opposition.