Rays reject City Council offer to get out of lease
ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - During an hour-long, closed door meeting with Mayor Rick Kriseman, the Tampa Bay Rays rejected the city council's offer to let them out of their lease for Tropicana Field for as much as $33 million.
"Obviously I am disappointed today," said Kriseman. "But I can't say I am surprised."
Last year, the Rays accepted a much smaller deal from Kriseman, of $17 million.
But City Council rejected that, saying it was too low.
"My intention is to continue to have discussions with the Rays to see what we can work out," said Kriseman.
Council Chair Charlie Gerdes says at least Thursday's failure provides the bookend of a potential deal that could eventually fall between the Rays' first agreement of $17 million and council's offer of $33 million.
"The primary objective was to re-start the negotiations," said Gerdes. "I think that has been accomplished."
Indeed, the Rays sent a statement, saying, "They remain open to pursuing a cooperative path forward."
Gerdes, who has pitched a deal that falls between the two numbers says it's up to Kriseman to reach a new deal with the Rays and present it to council for a vote.
"As long as we are still talking, that's a good thing," said Kriseman.
The meeting was a swing and a miss, but not strike three.
"He sounded happy that he wasn't told don't come back," Gerdes said of Kriseman. "That's great news. We will let the mayor negotiate and see what happens."
Last year, Kriseman said he didn't think he could get more than $17 million out of the Rays.
We are about to find out if that's true.