ST. LOUIS -- The Memphis City Council on Tuesday, citing insufficient time to review all the necessary documents, delayed voting on a proposal that would lead to the Cardinals taking ownership of their Triple-A affiliate and Memphis assuming control of AutoZone Park. Council members agreed to reconvene for a special session on Monday to finish discussing the issue and take a vote.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak attended the meeting and, according to The Commercial Appeal, told the council that the Cardinals would be paying $15 million to acquire the franchise. The Memphis Redbirds have been the Cardinals' Triple-A club since 1998.
"We were hopeful that this would have been decided tonight, but we understand and appreciate the process," Mozeliak wrote in an e-mail to MLB.com. "We are still hopeful this will be approved."
Mozeliak said that 11th-hour changes to the agreement did not provide enough time for council members to thoroughly review the proposal before it came time to vote. The agreement has the support of the Cardinals, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr., and Fundamental Advisors LP, the Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation's bondholder.
If approved, the city of Memphis would acquire AutoZone Park and subsequently lease the ballpark to the Redbirds. The Cardinals, in turn, would take ownership of their fourth Minor League franchise.
The agreement calls for the transaction to be completed by Dec. 31, and Mozeliak said that even with this delay, there should still be enough time to meet that deadline.