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Rumour mill says Tampa Bay Rays could move to Montreal

While the end of the 2014 MLB season brings a new crop of free agents like pitchers Max Scherzer and Jon Lester, one of the highest-profile names now appears to be Joe Maddon, who left his manager position of nine years Friday. His unexpected departure sent shock waves and a flurry of media speculating that he’ll end up with the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs or several other clubs.

Coupled with general manager Andrew Friedman jumping ship to the LA Dodgers 10 days earlier, the struggling — both athletically and financially — team could potentially move north of the border. According to the New York Daily News, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has been looking for ways to move his team out of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

One such move could be moving the franchise to Montreal, Canada, which has spent about a decade without a baseball franchise since the Expos were transferred to Washington and became the Nationals. Sternberg has reportedly been talking with Wall Street associates about a possible move, something Montreal Gazette columnist Jack Todd says could happen.

Sternberg has apparently been frustrated in his attempt to move the team out of the much-maligned Tropicana Field and into a new stadium, but has yet to reach a deal with St. Petersburg. The Rays have repeatedly seen poor attendance and TV viewership numbers while the demand for baseball in Montreal has recently been strong. Bud Selig in July gave his blessing for baseball in Montreal, and a pair of spring training games in Montreal featuring the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Mets drew a little over 96,000 people.

However, on Tuesday the Rays quelled the rumours by saying that they’re looking for new managers and not a new home. The statement said they’re committed to making baseball work in the Tampa Bay area, and that they hadn’t spoken about moving the team out.

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