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Hall: D-backs’ proposed Chase Field agreement with county a win

The Diamondbacks have reached an agreement with Maricopa County that, among other things, would give the franchise the immediate right to explore rebuilding Chase Field or moving to another site.(AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File)

LISTEN: Derrick Hall, Diamondbacks President and CEO

The legal dispute between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Maricopa County appears to be nearing an end.

If a binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreed upon by the two parties passes next week, the MLB team’s lawsuit over the conditions of Chase Field that was filed in January 2017 will be settled.

The D-backs would take on the burden of upkeep of Chase Field after they determined it needed about $187 million in repairs. The county, which in effect was the landlord, disagreed with the issue, prompting the original lawsuit.

“It needs to get approved. If the MOU does get approved, it’s really good for both parties and for the relationship,” Arizona team president and CEO Derrick Hall told Doug & Wolf Thursday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “I mean, it’ll free the county and our taxpayers of any and all financial burdens for the stadium, which you guys know has been our intention.”

“I just know that we’re going to be here a while, and while we’re here, we’re going to make it look nice for our fans. But at this point, we’re at this stadium and we’re going to continue to maintain it and make it look nice as possible.”

The proposed memorandum, which can be passed next Wednesday, has protections for Maricopa County, which includes buyout payments the team would owe the county if the D-backs left it.

Should it pass, the MOU will give the team control over maintenance and repairs for the ballpark.

Maybe as importantly, it will allow the Diamondbacks to begin looking down the road. While they have to remain in Chase Field for at least five seasons, their previous agreement with the county did not allow the team to search for other options.

“We’ve said all along that with the condition of the stadium and all the capital needs that we have that have been identified over the years … we just have to know what the options are out there, but we weren’t allowed to look,” Hall said. “So it just goes back to allowing us to have the freedom to see what’s out there. But again, it puts us in a situation where we’re responsible for everything here and we’re here for a while.”

Hall didn’t rule out refurbishing Chase Field as a potential solution to keep the D-backs in downtown Phoenix.

“Everything’s an option,” he said. “That’s what that (MOU) does. It makes everything an option to go look and see what’s there, to see if you stay downtown, see if you stay at this location. We haven’t even been able to do that.

“It’s so early. We’re just thrilled that the relationship seems to be better, looks like litigation will be over, which is good for all parties and we can start to think about the future.”