Major League Baseball is always expanding their training facilities to other countries and the Dodgers are finishing their training academy in The Dominican Republic. They are about done with the renovation of the Campo Las Palmas training academy, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
Earlier this month, the winter meetings limited the amount of spending that goes to international players. “The project is, in part, an anticipated response by the club to limitations on signing bonuses for international players and a reallocation of resources into infrastructure to develop them,” said Gurnick.
The academy will triple the number of players and staff from the previous 40-player capacity that lived in the complex when the foundation was opened by former owner, Peter O’Malley, in 1987.
During that time, scouting in the Caribbean was not as important to the Dodgers and they reduced the spending on the 75-acre facility. But now that has changed.
“With the new CBA [Collective Bargaining Agreement] and everyone limited as to how much you can spend there [on players], we think the competitive edge is in facilities, instruction, and training,” said Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten. “We are going all-in on the best, state-of-the-art complex.”
The Dominican Republic is one the top countries to find baseball prospects in the Caribbean as well as South America. So how much is this facility going to cost the Dodgers?
Normally, baseball facilities would cost around $5 million and $10 million to build, but the improved facility will also help the prospects if they move to the United States.
The reason why this is going to be a great facility is because of the new Jackie Robinson Hall where the players will be learning English.
“We chose to renovate the great campus that we had, gutting and rebuilding six buildings and adding three new ones, adding a third field and another half-field. And we are especially proud of our new Jackie Robinson Hall, where players can gather and we” show English movies with Spanish subtitles as an aid in teaching the conversational language. It’s entertainment with a purpose,” said Janet Marie Smith, senior vice president of planning and development.
Campo Las Palmas facility took about one year to plan and the renovations are almost complete. The renovations included new plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning, and a garden to provide nutrition.
The goal of Campo Las Palmas is to have the best facility for the Dominican Republic, to enhance the players’ baseball skills, and to manage their lives.
The players and staff will begin to move back into their new complex next month.