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O's sign deal for Dominican academy; Snow forecast in Hades today

This might be the most shocking news of the off-season - from The (Baltimore) Sun:

In an attempt to improve an international scouting system widely considered among the worst in Major League Baseball, the Orioles have agreed to an extended lease on a new baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, just east of the island's capital city of Santo Domingo.

The facility, which is more than half-completed, will be in Boca Chica, between Santo Domingo and San Pedro de Macoris, where the Orioles currently run a Spartan operation that basically consists of two barracks and a field for 50 players.

Expected to be up and running by April 1, the new Orioles facility will have two full fields, will house 75 players and includes full lodging, classrooms and a kitchen. It is part of a complex being rented by five other teams."

I know this was probably already in the works before Andy MacPhail got here, but I take this as an encouraging sign the Orioles are finally starting to get it - their scouting stinks, their minor league system stinks, and they can't buy their way out of this hole. They MUST start developing players.