Astros Owner Considers Moving Team's Spring Training Site To Florida's East Coast
Astros Owner Jim Crane yesterday said that he is "considering moving the Astros’ spring training operations to sites on Florida’s east coast, including Palm Beach County," according to Joe Capozzi of the PALM BEACH POST. Crane said that possible sites "range from Port St. Lucie, where the New York Mets train, to as far south as Fort Lauderdale." The Astros train in Kissimmee "under a lease that expires in 2016." Crane would "love to move his team closer to Palm City in southern Martin County, which is home to his Florida Golf and Yacht Club." Crane said, "We’ve been looking in this area, primarily because you have the Mets and you have the Marlins and the Cardinals. You get two more teams in this area and (if) the Mets can get someone else, it would really solidify baseball on the east coast and make the travel schedules easier." He added, "The consensus is (with) the density in this area, in particular around the West Palm Beach airport and in Jupiter and to Stuart, I think you could draw from all over. When you look at what the Cardinals and Marlins have been able to do here, it does draw a lot of people into the area and they spend a lot of money" (PALM BEACH POST, 3/13). MLB.com's Christina De Nicola noted Crane "envisions a Spring Training home where his organization shares the facility with another team, limiting travel and building a fan base in a densely populated area." While he "doesn't yet have a city in mind, Crane likes the Interstate 95 corridor as far south as Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and as far north as Stuart, Fla." Crane said, "We still have a contract with Kissimmee for a couple more years, and they're treating us great and it's a nice location" (MLB.com, 3/12).
AIMING FOR THE STARS: Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said, "There's a lot of frustration among our fan base and as the new group in charge we recognize that frustration and the best thing we can do to make the Astros great again is build our own system, build our own players." He added the Astros are in the "position where we can deploy close" to $20M "worth of resources into signing international free agents and amateur players through the draft." Luhnow said the new CBA "will have the effect it was intended to have, which is the teams that are finishing last in baseball are going to have an opportunity to close the gap talent-wise with those teams that finish ahead and that's what it was intended to do" ("Behind The Dish With Keith Law," ESPN.com, 3/12).