JUPITER, Fla. -- Astros owner Jim Crane toured the Mets' Port St. Lucie Spring Training complex on Saturday morning, arriving via private helicopter. The Mets hope to convince the Astros to share their Digital Domain Park complex, potentially replacing one of the teams that have moved away from Florida's Atlantic coast in recent years. The Astros' current lease at Osceola County Stadium expires in 2015.
In particular, the Mets can no longer play the Dodgers or Orioles, two teams that used to train within a two-hour drive from their complex. Currently, only three clubs are situated within a 90-minute drive of the Mets: the Marlins, Cardinals and Nationals (who are also rumored to be considering a move). Two others, the Astros and Braves, train approximately two hours away.
Three of those five teams, which combined to constitute 81 percent of the Mets' spring schedule this year, are members of the National League East. That has been an issue for the Mets, who have kept their starting pitchers out of games on multiple occasions so as not to overexpose them to division opponents.
The Mets recently extended their lease at Digital Domain Park through 2023.
"I'd like to see more teams on this side of the state for sure," said manager Terry Collins, who unsuccessfully lobbied for the Mets to take an overnight trip to Florida's Gulf Coast this spring. "No disrespect to the Marlins or the Nationals, but you get tired of seeing those same faces every day -- especially the teams in our division. To have another team come in -- no matter who it is or where it is -- would be good for us."