Blue Jays reportedly staying in Dunedin for 25 years

Details of proposal to be disclosed at city council meeting Monday

Blue Jays reportedly staying in Dunedin for 25 years

TORONTO -- Blue Jays officials declined to comment Friday on a report that they have reached a tentative $81 million agreement to keep their Spring Training headquarters in Dunedin, Fla., for the next 25 years.

However, on Monday night, a Toronto delegation led by club president Mark Shapiro will disclose details of a proposal to remain in Dunedin during a Dunedin city council meeting, a team spokesman said.

Until then, the team will have no comment on a story published Friday in the Tampa Bay Times, the spokesman said.

Citing "preliminary plans," the story reported that the project would retain its current separate facilities at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium and the club's training and rehab complex about a 10-minute drive from the stadium.

Monday's meeting will mark the beginning of a long process seeking approval for public funding from the city, county and state. The Times story said the Blue Jays would pay about $15.7 million of the $81 million.

The Blue Jays have held Spring Training in Dunedin since the franchise launched in 1977. Their current agreement with the city expires on Dec. 31, 2017.

Since taking over as president last fall, Shapiro has stressed the need for year-round "state-of-the-art" facilities in Dunedin if the Blue Jays were to stay. He first said he might seek alternative sites unless an agreement were in place by summer, but negotiations have continued well beyond that deadline.

Shapiro has also made it clear he prefers to keep the team in Dunedin, even though the separate facilities make doing so less than ideal.

Discussions have reportedly focused on significant upgrades at the training complex. Shapiro has said that the Blue Jays could hold all of their workouts, including those before exhibition games, at the training complex, using the stadium only for the games themselves.

The Times story said it is "unclear" whether the stadium would be torn down and rebuilt or simply upgraded. The stadium is used during the Florida State League season by the Blue Jays' Class A Advanced affiliate.

If the plans proceed, the upgrades would be in place in time for Spring Training 2019, the story said.

John Lott is a contributor to based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.