Quick Hits: Camden Yards, Blue Jays, Nationals, A’s, Valentine

The Orioles have called Oriole Park at Camden Yards home for the last 30 seasons, and the team continues to negotiate with the Maryland Stadium Authority about the ballpark’s future and a lease extension.  “The good news is both the Orioles and the stadium authority feel very strongly that we want to renew this partnership and that it’s been beneficial for all parties — the state, the city, the team,” Orioles senior VP of administration and experience Greg Bader told The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Barker.  The Orioles’ lease at Camden Yards is up in December 2023, though the club can decide by February 1, 2023 whether or not it wants to exercise a one-time, five-year extension that would run through 2028.

Given the mutual interest between the two sides, there doesn’t appear to be any concern that the Orioles would actually leave Baltimore, despite the uncertainty that often surrounds discussions of ballpark leases or renovations.  Bader said the team is looking to upgrade OPACY to match “what a lot of newer or renovated ballparks have in terms of those social spaces, those areas for people to engage with baseball the way that people do today.”  This could include loge seating, outdoor seating or concession areas, or a sportsbook, as “the Orioles are quite interested in finding the right sports gaming partner.”  That said, Bader also stressed that old-school experience of watching a game at Camden Yards (the modern stadium that started the trend towards more retro, baseball-only venues) wouldn’t be significantly altered.  “We’re not looking to upend the traditional side of a baseball park.  We’re very confident that what makes Camden Yards so special would be able to be retained with whatever we do,” Bader said.

More from around the baseball world…

  • Yimi Garcia’s two-year contract represents the Blue Jays’ biggest investment in their bullpen this offseason, and The Toronto Star’s Gregor Chisholm thinks the club might not spend big on any further new relievers.  While relief pitching was a big weakness for much of the Jays’ 2021 campaign, the in-season acquisitions of Adam Cimber and Trevor Richards helped shore up a core group that also includes incumbent closer Jordan Romano and southpaw Tim Mayza.  With other needs yet to be addressed, Chisholm figure the Blue Jays will spend bigger on the lineup and rotation: “keeping the stakes low [in the bullpen] is a logical approach so the larger bets can be saved for other areas.”
  • In the latest edition of the Rates & Barrels podcast, The Athletic’s Derek VanRiper, Britt Ghiroli, and Eno Sarris discuss a variety of topics, including the Nationals’ struggles in player development, some hypothetical trade fits involving the Athletics, Blue Jays, and Mets, and the concept of Matt Chapman moving from third base to shortstop.
  • Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine has received some consideration as a special assistant within the front office, according to The New York Post’s Mike Puma.  It isn’t known whether Valentine is himself interested in such a role, as Valentine hasn’t been officially involved with a big league club since the Red Sox fired him as manager following the 2012 season.  Valentine both played with the Mets in 1977-78 and then posted a 536-467 record while managing the club from 1996-2002, leading the Mets to the National League pennant in 2000.

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