If as it looks that the Toronto Blue Jays leave Dunedin for a new spring training site that they would share with the Houston Astros in Palm Beach Gardens they can and will be replaced. Despite the Blue Jays’ contract with the city expires on Dec. 30, 2017, the club has the option to leave as early as 2015.
While there is no doubt that the city would like to keep Toronto right where they are now at Dunedin Stadium. But the club has signed a deal to play in a proposed new $100 million dollar that they would share with Houston in Palm Beach Gardens.
The Palm Beach Gardens are key to keeping the New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins are the only teams left of Florida’s east coast. The proposed new Palm Beach Gardens complex is seen as critical to keeping both the Mets and the Cardinals from looking elsewhere for spring training homes.
Meanwhile, Dunedin has both the Washington Nationals, now train in Viera and the Milwaukee Brewers who train in Phoenix as candidates to replace the Jays if they head to Pal Beach Gardens.
At present the Nationals are looking for a new spring training home. They are over an hour drive from their nearest spring training partner. It is also tough to get fans to come to Viera because there simply is not much to do in the area.
The Nationals had been in contact with Ft. Myers about City of Palms Park but at this point the city, who just three years ago built a new stadium for the Boston Red Sox and did a number of renovations to the facilities that house the Minnesota Twins, so there is no money at this point for the Nationals.
Washington would be the perfect fit for Dunedin because their NL East rivals the Philadelphia Phillies are down the road in Clearwater, their interleague “Belway Rivals,” the Baltimore Orioles are across the Skyway Bridge in Sarasota and then of course there are the Yankees, Pirates and Tigers all within a 90 minute drive of their possible new home.
While the Nationals would be a natural the Brewers might be a little harder to sell. Milwaukee has not trained in the state since 1964, when the Braves moved to Atlanta they of course began their spring each year in Palm Beach before moving to Disney.
When Milwaukee welcomed the Brewers to town in 1970 they have trained in Arizona and for their entire 43 years as in the Major Leagues they may have changed cities but they have always been in the Catus League. At the moment they are on a year to year lease with Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix. The team has asked for upgrades in the facilities and it is being debated at the moment by the city. At the moment the Brewers are the only Catus League team that could be moved that said, Milwaukee will listen to Dunedin but the better play at the moment would be the Nationals.
But Dunedin could be very creative, by moving to offer the same type of deal Palm Beach Gardens is offering and perhaps they could land both Milwaukee and Washington. We will keep you posted.