Skip to content

Kissimmee votes against spring facility

Aug 20, 2013, 11:47 AM EDT

USA Today Sports Images

Updated at 8:03 p.m.

CHICAGO — The Nationals' long-standing attempt to find a new spring training home took another hit Monday night when a plan to construct a $98 million facility in Kissimmee, Fla., was struck down by Osceola County commissioners.

In a 4-1 vote, the commissioners resoundingly rejected the Nationals' latest ballpark proposal, leaving the club to start over again in its attempt to relocate spring training headquarters from Space Coast Stadium in Viera.

"While the Washington Nationals are sorry that we couldn't come to an agreement with Osceola County, we recognize this was just one option toward finding the right site, deal and partner to build our one-of-a-kind, family-friendly Spring Training and fan experience facility," the Nationals said in a statement released Tuesday night. "We would like to thank Osceola County for approaching us about this project and for their professionalism and good spirit throughout the negotiations. We will continue to talk with other interested counties in Florida and Arizona and believe that the appropriate combination of site and investment will pay dividends for the right community long into the future."

The Nationals revealed their intention to leave Viera two years ago, citing their long travel times to other Grapefruit League facilities. No other club trains within one hour of Space Coast Stadium, and onlyRead more »

  1. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 20, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Well, I've always wanted to visit Viera but haven't yet had the opportunity. In theory I'd like to visit them in Kissimmee but I see both the travel and living expenses up there being much higher and therefore problematic. Fort Myers out of the question for both cost and aesthetic reasons. I don't think you can blame this season on long travel times for exhibition games.

  2. SCNatsFan - Aug 20, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Go to Fort Lauderdale please! Who cares if other teams are close at least it will make for a great vacation!

  3. James Joyce - Aug 20, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    The Lerners are looking for another publicy financed park? Shocker.

  4. James Joyce - Aug 20, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    On DeJesus — I can only guess that Rizzo thinks that a contending AL team would have calimed him and will still want DeJesus and that he can now move the guy to Tampa or Oakland or whatever team and get a return on him in a quick flip. Risky stuff.

  5. John C. - Aug 20, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    I assume that DeJesus is on waivers for the same reason that any other player is on waivers after the trade deadline – to see whether there is any interest in him. The Nats were able to pick DeJesus up for a bag o' baseballs (PTBNL) before other teams because they put in a waiver claim and have priority because of their league and record. If another team also put in a claim for DeJesus, the Nationals may leverage their waiver position to their benefit – all it would take is getting a better return than the PTBNL they gave up.Probably not the primary purpose of the trade, but if it plays out that way I'm sure the Nats will cheerfully pocket the profit and move on.

  6. John C. - Aug 20, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    James Joyce – it's only "risky stuff" if that's the only reason that they picked up DeJesus. I think the primary reason that they picked up DeJesus was to nail down, relatively inexpensively, a team controlled fallback position if the free agent and/or trade market don't work out. Sure, pursue free agent opportunities (Choo? Ellsbury?), and explore potential trades at a reasonable rate to improve the OF/1b/bench production. But they now have an safety net in case either/both markets don't work out.

  7. James Joyce - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    John C. — if it does not work out that way, the flip of DeJesus, then this is a pretty dumb move. $2.5M for 39 games of a 4th OF? I really hope Rizzo has something up his sleeve to move this guy.

  8. DaveBinMD - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    John C.: When did the pecking-order to select players on waivers change from last season's order of finish (which of course had the Nats picking dead last)?

  9. NatsLady - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    The order is league, then rank as it currently stands, so Nats are ahead of NL teams like ATL, CIN, etc. Then AL teams.

  10. James Joyce - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    I think it goes by record worst to first by league, starting with the same league of the waiving club.Paying $7.5M for DeJesus (2013 and 2014 money) is safe? Choo and Ellsbury are All Star caliber starting players, DeJesus is a nice player but he is bench guy on our club. Not all that relative from a valuation persepctive. The Nats are not likely pursing anyone in terms of starting OF anyway, Span is the guy in CF. Rizzo went hard after him less than 1 year ago, he's under control, he plays a great CF and has picked it up in a big way at the plate — is Mike really giving up on the guy already? Maybe, but that has not been Rizzo's MO, he sticks with a guy for better or worse. We'll see what happens, bu my guess is that we'll (very sadly) not see much of Kim DeJesus at Nats Park.

  11. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    James Joyce, your info is wrong on Lerners and public financing. It was MLB that struck the deal with DC government on the stadium deal. Lerners bought the team in mid 2006.

  12. JD - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    JJ, This cheap Lerners stuff is kind of old. no?

  13. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Boswell did an article that mirrors Chases on the big difference between Ramos and Suzuki. He credits Ramos game calling for most of the difference between the catchers and Ramos liking to come in on batters.Ramos all talked about being a student of Pudge Rodriguez.

  14. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    JD, bingo.

  15. JD - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    1st of all. Teams put just about all their players on waivers in August because you can pull them back. This is a vehicle to gauge interest in your players; you can then make a deal based on that information. Frankly, the DeJesus move makes no sense in a vacuum. We need to see what else Rizzo does before judging the transaction (not that lack of knowledge has ever stopped anyone from spewing out opinions here). From what I read about DeJesus in the Chicago outlets they absolutely love him as a team mate and a mentor (especially to Anthony Rizzo). Could it be that Mike Rizzo is just now understanding the value of Mark DeRosa to last year's team?

  16. JD - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Ghost, Ramos absolutely has to be the man next year. They need a competent backup (IDK Shopach or something like that) but they need both the bat and the game calling Ramos brings to the table.

  17. Tcostant - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    I read the in the WaPost this morning. Very sad, dream of spring train for me and Disney for the kids…

  18. baseballswami - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    I had originally heard that Ohly was rejoining the club to pitch tomorrow. That will mean a roster move. Please do not tell me that they are going to yet again send Tyler Moore back to Syracuse when we need his bat. And Viera is so very nice. Wah, wah, wah on the travel. I think it would be great if they could get more teams over there.

  19. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    JD, yes, the backup catcher will be a need next year. Suzuki will need a job. I don't think he will get more than $3 million. Wouldn't be surprised if the Nats pass on him.

  20. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Putting DeJesus on revocable waivers now (and remember, there are only about 10 days left to do that this season) allows Rizzo to gauge the interest of other teams in picking up his contract. If there are no teams claiming him, that indicates that there isn't much interest in the league for picking up his $6.5M club option for next year. That would allow Rizzo to buy out the option with a good chance of being able to sign DeJesus back as a FA for next year at a lower salary. If a club claims him on waivers now, though, that indicates that some club might be willing to pay him $6.5M or more as a FA, in which case Rizzo would pick up that club option to keep him. Smart move on Rizzo's part. Players get put on waivers all the time, for reasons much like this.

  21. baseballswami - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Wil Nieves will probably be available…

  22. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    baseballswami, Chad Tracy to the DL?

  23. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    baseballswami who? ;)

  24. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Re spring training: Goodbye Viera, hello Arizona.

  25. NatsLady - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Fangraphs on JZ.When June ended, Zimmermann’s BABIP was .238. Since then, it’s been .342. And yet Jordan Zimmermann is mostly the same guy he used to be.It's the BABiP, babyhttp://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/jordan-zimmermanns-poor-stretch/

  26. NatsLady - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    Of course, BABiP doesn't explain last night, walks and homeruns…

  27. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Sure it's BABIP but it's very little change in luck, it's location and movement and probably due to the bad neck even though he doesn't want to use that as an excuse.JZim said he was up in the zone. I wonder how much was frustration related yesterday.

  28. James Joyce - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Ghost — Not sure I am wrong at all. The Lerners have a publicly financed park in DC and they are looking for one in FA, no?Feel Wood — that DeJesus breakdown on the waivers play by Rizzo is clever but a bit strained. If the Nats decide to release him and pay him $1.5M they have no more chance than any other club in signing him and given that he may have better chances at PT other places, maybe less. This move by Rizzo is hard to defend, unless he can swing a deal that makes it make sense. We'll see.

  29. Nats Fan 204 - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    I would hope that Mr. Rizzo and his abled assistants think a little out of the box now that the Kissimmee plan has been nixed. Why not stay in Viera and have more camp days. However instead of AAA playing AA and High A playing low A, have a combination of the AA and AAA players play the "Major Leaguers" in the big ball park.This would promote competition amongst our players at all levels, more commradderie between the levels, develop a Nationals Way (hopefully fundamentally correct)and put a healthy fear into the complacent hearts of out veterans. A few weeks of this in February and March and the vets will be only too glad to get on the bus for the long trips to play other major league teams, as opposed to now when only three or four everyday players go. I know that ST is really for the pitchers, but after going there for 8 yrs. now, and watching the coaches of the minor leaguers work with their players, I really think that physical training the players do in the off season is not enough and I believe our major leaguers believe it is. The results at the major league level so far this year shows that a change in the purpose of ST is needed. Baseball accumen based on repitition of fundamentals and not only physical readiness must be stressed.

  30. NatsLady - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Ghost, due to work I didn't see the first inning, when I understand a ball bounced of RZ's glove (scored as a double). Is that what you mean by frustration-related, or did he get bad calls leading to the walk?

  31. JD - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    'Sure it's BABIP but it's very little change in luck' I don't understand that statement. When your BABIP is .238 you are very lucky by definition. When your BABIP is .342 you are very unlucky (by definition). I am not arguing that JZimm pitched better at the start of the year but he was also very lucky. I think that last year and this prove that he is not quite an ace. At least not yet.

  32. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    James Joyce, you were wrong because you said they were "looking for another publicly financed stadium". It's not true as the Nats Park lease was part of what they bought. This would be the first time they have looked for a publicly financed deal and why not, every team looks for that type of deal to relocate.

  33. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    JD, his BABIP was so good based on movement and location causing poor contact. Now his location and movement isn't good causing good contact by the batters.

  34. JD - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    NatsLady, It goes back to the concept of pitching to contact. I think your best bet is pitching to avoid contact, then you also get weak contact. Stras struck out 10 batters in his shutout last week and pitched a complete game on about 100 pitches. I think pitching with men on base runs up your pitch count more than pitching to strike out.

  35. NatsLady - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Just listened to Girardi talking about why he defended Rodriguez ("you can't take the law in your own hands, you don't hit someone just because you don't like them, no matter who it is….")Would very much have like to hear the like from Davey re: Bryce.

  36. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    NatsLady, yes on the grounder and then he got the catcher 2-0 and threw a great low strike that wasn't called and immediately melted down.

  37. JD - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    'his BABIP was so good based on movement and location causing poor contact. Now his location and movement isn't good causing good contact by the batters.' I agree with the gist of that statement but .238 has to involve large chunks of luck as well. And I think it's mostly location with JZimm. He was wild high in the strike zone. in a game I saw in ST and the Cards absolutely smoked him, including all of their minor leaguers.

  38. NatsLady - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    JD, it depends on what kind of strikeouts you are getting (and what kind of contact). What McCatty doesn't like is 10-12 pitch battles (of which Stras had only one in his complete game), with a lot of fouls–the kind of ineffeciency that explains why Clip isn't a starter. I think going for contact is fine–BUT, BUT, you have to adjust. I'm starting to see that in Stras. JZimm, not so much. I would agree that when "contact" isn't working then he needs to get strikeouts. Am just not sure he has that capability.

  39. JD - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    NL, Girardi is exactly what I think the Nats need. Unfortunately the Yankees aren't likely to let him go.I hope we don't settle for someone like Scocia. If we can't get the best we should go out of the box with someone like Ausmus.

  40. NatsLady - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Sounds a little like what happened with Soriano when he didn't get the third strike call to end the game. I thought JZ had gotten over that (and Soriano should, too).

  41. JD - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    NL, Oh he does. Remember game 4 of the playoffs last year? he blew them away and easily. I understand that you normally can't be throwing 98 for 7 to 8 innings but when you get 2 strikes on the hitter there's nothing wrong with the high hard one. The Nats, in particular Gio get to 2 strikes and then get cute trying to get the hitter to chase, next thing you know it's 3 – 2 and you are on pitch 35 in the 1st inning.

  42. JD - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    NL, They would have gotten to him sooner or later. He was not locating and they were hitting rockets off him all night.

  43. John C. - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Natslady, the A-Rod plunking and Bryce situation weren't really analogous. The idea is that Dempster was peeved because A-Rod is still playing while under suspension (because he is appealing his suspension). Girardi's point (and his post-game comments were great) is that A-Rod is using a process agreed to by the Union and management and has every right to pursue his options under that process. If Dempster doesn't like that process, as a player representative he should articulate that in the negotiations. Not by plunking a player for using the very procedure that the MLBPA and the league established. That was what Girardi meant by "you can't take the law into your own hands."Bryce's case falls more into a more traditional type of beanball. I'm not sure that Girardi has an opinion on beanballs generally, but he's never spoken out about them the way he was about the A-Rod plunking, and he certainly never had the storming, apoplectic response to the umpire that he had last weekend.

  44. NatsLady - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    John C–Girardi said (in the same presser) that "retaliation" was traditional and had been going on as long as the game–but this wasn't the same.

  45. NatsLady - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    JD–sometimes pitchers overestimate their ability to fool batters, especially when it's 0-2 and you know the guy is going to expand the zone. OK, one slider in the dirt. Then go for the guy.

  46. SonnyG10 - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    On the bright side, the Cubs may have used up their allotment of hits and runs for the month of August. OTOH, they are playing the Nats. We seem to be good at raising the opponent's batting average this year.

  47. James Joyce - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Ghost– The Lerners bought a club with a publicly financed park in DC, they are looking for another public financing deal in FA. Perfectly accurate, both times. Why are you dickering over that?

  48. SCNatsFan - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    On a bright note with JZim the balls that didn't leave the park didn't lead to alot of RBIs.

  49. DC Cavalier - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Dunedin is not a bad place to land…..

  50. Pilchard - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    The DeJesus move was a mistake, and the Nats are trying to un-do it by putting him on waivers. DeJesus is overpaid for 2013 ($2.5 million commitment to dump him after the year; another $6.5 million to keep him for 2014). The Cubs were thrilled that the Nats were dumb enough to undertake that obligation for a player not in their plans this year or next.Also, wrong that "everybody" gets put on waivers in August. Other than Dan Haren and now DeJesus, what other Nat players were placed on waivers this August?As for Jordan Zimmerman the BABIP fails to tell the whole story. In 114 2/3 innings through June JZ had surrendered 8 HRs or 1 every 14+ innings. In 48 1/3 innings from July 1 to now, he has surrendered 9 HRs or 1 every 5 plus innings (we know from watching Dan Haren during the first half; bad pitchers give up a lot of HRs). Also Zimmerman's K to BB ratio has plummeted. Through end of June, JZ had 80Ks and 17 walks a 4.7 K/BB ratio. Since then, JZ has 41Ks and 16 walks a 2.6 K/BB ratio.Just watch the games, Zimmerman is not the same dominant pitcher that he was through June. His ball does not move as much as it did and batters are not swing and missing as much. Simply wrong to claim that bad luck explains the pre July 1 Zimmerman to the post July 1 Zimmerman. His stuff is not the same.

  51. djinFl. - Aug 20, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    Headline on Orlando Sentinel on-lineDiaz: Nationals whiff trying to play Osceola for fools In news that equates to Hell Freezing Over, a local government decided it wasn't going to get bamboozled by a professional sports franchise.

  52. Manassas Nats' Fan - Aug 20, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    DeJesus will get clained by the As who will send Jaso back to the Mariners who will send Morse here.How is that deal?

  53. DaveBinMD - Aug 20, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Mentioned within that article was this tidbit: "Kissimmee, which has housed the Astros at Osceola County Stadium since 1985 but is expected to lose Houston to a new two-team complex (with the Blue Jays) in the Palm Beach area."So two teams are going to buck the trend and move back to the Atlantic side of FL? If that's a done deal, wouldn't the next-most likely candidate to house the Nats Spring Training be the facility the Blue Jays are vacating in Dunedin/Clearwater? What is the state of that facility and why does Toronto want to leave? The only obvious drawback I see is that the closest team (the Phillies just 5 miles away) is a divisional rival.

  54. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 20, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    The Lerners bought a club with a publicly financed park in DCIt's not like they had a choice. There wasn't an MLB club in DC that didn't have a publicly financed park for them to bid on instead.

  55. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 20, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    "Also, wrong that "everybody" gets put on waivers in August. Other than Dan Haren and now DeJesus, what other Nat players were placed on waivers this August?"Players get put on revocable waivers all the time. It's never announced by the team or the league, so you don't hear about it. Only when some reporter finds out about it will you know. Revocable waivers are a procedural move designed to ferret out information for possible future transactions – but the number of transactions that actually come about from this is very small.

  56. Chevy Chase Bob - Aug 20, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Arizona is a great environment for spring training…weather more reliable than Florida (remember cold winds) and travel for teams is easy…and the food is better.

  57. DaveBinMD - Aug 20, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    Fortunately, the Nats would prefer to stay in FL, just in a better location than Viera.

  58. Quakrbackr - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    DaveBinMD–Dunedin facility is ancient. Opened in 77 updated only a bit since then. Right in the middle of a neighborhood and largely landlocked. No chance of major updates. It's also a small town without a ton of available land (or likely budget). In addition, it is one of the few facilities with the minor league facility off site– about 2.5 miles away.Definitely not an upgrade facility wise. Travel-wise, you've got Philly 10 mins away, Yankees 30-60 mins away (traffic dependent), and then next closest is Pittsburgh in Bradenton, or Tigers in Lakeland– both 75-90 minutes. They should try to get St Lucie or Broward County to build a complex they could share with eother the Mets or Brewers.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 58 -- 19
ATLANTA 72 66 7.0
MIAMI 67 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 74 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 63 74 15.5
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter