On November 7th, the Mariners announced that they were planning to build a baseball academy to appeal to prospective players in the Dominican Republic. The team spent $7 million dollars on a 24-acre complex that is located near Boca Chica, which is near the Southwestern border. The plan, the Mariners managers report, is that this complex will serve as an institution where prospective players will be able to live, attend school, and of course hone their baseball-playing skills.
The team had already shared a complex in the Dominican Republic with the L.A. Dodgers and they have a complex in Venezuela dedicated to building team skills. They see investing in these training complexes and baseball academies as investing in their future as a team. Only a handful of teams own such academies, and Seattle will be one of the few owning such a complex in the Dominican Republic.
The complex is scheduled to be built by the end of 2013. It will contain two fields with plans for a third, and an infield. In addition there will be bullpens, batting cages, dorms, dining facilities, and classrooms. It will be a very nice facility that accommodates potential players in Latin America and develops them so that they will be ready to play ball at the professional level.
The Mariners (and former Mariners) who have come out of the Dominican Republic and Venezuela include:
- Michael Pineda
- Carlos Triunfel
- Hector Noesi
- Carlos Peguero
- “King” Felix Hernandez
- Franklin Gutierrez
- Jose Lopez
- Jesus Montero
Since so many baseball players, including star pitcher King Felix have come from Latin America, it does seem prudent to invest in training complexes in the area. However, it also seems as though a small budget team may have better uses of $7 million. What do you think about this development? Is it worth the money to create a baseball academy to educate and train potential players from where the Mariners can draw? Post your thoughts in the comments.