The Philles decline Feliz's option

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There are a metric butt-ton of third basemen on the market this winter, so the Phillies decided that it was not worth paying their current one $5.5 million:

The Phillies have declined the option for 2010 on third baseman
Pedro Feliz’ contract, general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. announced in a
press release. The Phillies had a $5.5 million option, a $5 million
salary for 2010 and a $500,000 buyout.

Feliz, 34, batted .266 with 12 home runs and 82 RBI in 158 games for
the Phillies this past season. With runners in scoring position, he hit
a team-best .336, which ranked 13th among all National League players.

They could still bring back Feliz at a lower price. Or the could go after Chone Figgins, Adrian Beltre, Garrett Atkins, or Mark DeRosa, all of whom except DeRosa are younger and each of whom bring one thing or another to the table that Feliz does not. Beltre could be the best option in that his defense is just as good as Feliz’s and his offensive upside is superior.

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.

Rockies sign 30-year lease to stay in Coors Field

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Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies agreed to a $200 million, 30-year lease with the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District, which is the state division that owns Coors Field. As part of the deal, the Rockies will lease and develop a plot of land south of the stadium, which will cost the team $125 million for 99 years.

As Groke points out, had the Rockies not reached a deal by Thursday, March 30, the lease would have rolled over for five more years.

Rockies owner Dick Monfort issued a statement, saying, “We are proud that Coors Field will continue to be a vital part of a vibrant city, drawing fans from near and far and making our Colorado residents proud.”

The Rockies moved into Coors Field in 1995. It is the National League’s third oldest stadium. In that span of time, the Rockies have made the playoffs three times, the last coming in 2009 when they lost in the NLDS to the Phillies. The Rockies were swept in the 2007 World Series by the Red Sox.