It's too soon to know if spring training will start on time, but when it does, the Twins definitely won't be reporting to the CenturyLink Sports Complex.
The Twins' spring headquarters in Fort Myers, Fla., is getting a new name after the internet and telephone communications company chose not to renew its naming-rights sponsorship when the eight-year contract expired at the end of 2021.
"We are in active conversations with multiple corporate partners about the naming rights," Twins President Dave St. Peter said. An agreement with one of them "will manifest itself sometime in 2022. I'm not sure it'll happen before spring training, but it could."
For now, the stadium, practice fields, offices, clubhouses and player residence hall will collectively be known as the Lee County Sports Complex, which was its name from its original construction in 1991 until its renovation in 2014. CenturyLink signage has been removed, and will be replaced by Lee County branding in time for spring training if a new sponsor has not been signed before players report to camp.
Lee County agreed to let the Twins sell naming rights to the property when the team agreed to a 30-year lease in 2014, though the contract stipulates the stadium remain Hammond Stadium, named for the county manager instrumental in attracting the Twins to southwest Florida from their longtime Orlando home.
The 80-acre site is also the home of the Class A Fort Myers Mighty Mussels and the Twins' rookie-league team, so the team has found plenty of interest from potential sponsors.
"There are a lot of companies with ties to the Upper Midwest that love the idea of an affiliation with the Twins, both in Minnesota and Fort Myers, especially knowing the number of people from this part of the country that winter there or visit every year," St. Peter said. "And we've also found there are some companies based in southwest Florida who see the benefit of having a year-round affiliation with the Twins and the Mighty Mussels."
The Twins have not revealed the terms of their contract with CenturyLink — which rebranded itself as Lumen Technologies in 2020 — but naming rights for spring stadiums and complexes generally are worth less than $500,000, a fraction of the millions of dollars teams receive to brand their regular-season stadiums.
Dereck Rodriguez on deck
Righthanded pitcher Dereck Rodriguez, who started his career in the Twins organization, is returning after agreeing to a minor league deal.
Rodriguez, son of Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez, pitched in the majors for three seasons (2018-20) with the Giants. The 29-year-old spent last season at Class AAA Albuquerque after signing a minor league deal with Colorado; he was 4-6 with a 6.72 ERA.
Born when his father played for the Rangers in 1992, Rodriguez was drafted by the Twins as an outfielder in 2011 but converted to pitching at rookie league Elizabethton in 2014. He didn't advance above Class AA before becoming a minor league free agent in 2017 and signing with the Giants.
In 51 major league games (35 starts), Rodriguez is 12-15 with a 4.27 ERA.