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Living in a baseball real estate bubble: Navigating life with a landlord who plays ball first

Shortly after negotiating his way out of free agency and securing a new contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kiké Hernández enlisted his wife, Mariana, to explore another housing option. Mariana reached out to former Dodger Rich Hill’s wife, Caitlin, to inquire about the possibility of the Hernández family staying at the Hills’ residence in Toluca Lake. The Hills had purchased the property in 2017 and decided to keep it after Rich’s tenure with the team ended in 2019. The house has since become a popular choice among Dodgers players, with Austin Barnes and even manager Dave Roberts expressing interest in living there. When Hernández returned to the team last year, he moved into the house, which is conveniently located a short 20-minute drive from Dodger Stadium and provides easy access to multiple highways.

The appeal of the house extends beyond its location, as the homeowner understands the transient lifestyle of baseball players. Each offseason, players often rely on recommendations, connections, and familiarity with the unique demands of the sport’s schedule when searching for housing options. This has created a unique market where players buy, sell, and trade homes among themselves, ensuring that their living arrangements align with their baseball commitments.

Finding a suitable residence can pose challenges, especially given the transient nature of the sport. Players like Justin Turner, Caleb Ferguson, and Steven Okert have faced difficulties securing housing due to unexpected trades or delayed free-agent signings. The length of the baseball season, which spans six months, often conflicts with the typical lease terms, making the process of finding housing a cumbersome task for players like DJ LeMahieu and Yency Almonte.

Despite the challenges, players often rely on their networks and connections within the baseball community to find suitable living arrangements. Some, like Brent Suter and Wade Miley, have benefited from former teammates offering housing solutions, creating a network of support among players. The story of Alex Cora and Ramón Vázquez trading homes serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the importance of understanding the unique housing challenges faced by baseball players.

In the end, the process of finding housing remains a complex yet essential aspect of a baseball player’s career, with players navigating the housing market with the help of their spouses, teammates, and connections within the baseball community. The willingness of players like Rich Hill to open their homes to fellow players reflects the camaraderie and support that exists within the baseball world, ensuring that players have a place to call home during the grueling baseball season.

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