Mariners set to steal Lee in Halladay deal

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ESPN’s Jayson Stark’s latest has some new twists in the Roy Halladay deal, and they seem to clearly favor the Mariners.
At 6:00 pm, the deal looked like this, according to Stark:
Phillies acquire Roy Halladay, Mariners prospect, Mariners prospect
Mariners acquire Cliff Lee
Blue Jays acquire Phillippe Aumont, Travis d’Arnaud, Phillies prospect (likely OF Michael Taylor)
However, the current deal has no one going from Seattle to Toronto.
Instead, the Mariners are set to acquire Lee from the Phillies for Aumont, a 20-year-old right-handed reliever, and 21-year-old outfielder Tyson Gillies. The Philies will simultaneously acquire Halladay from the Jays for three of their own youngsters: RHP Kyle Drabek, Taylor and D’Arnaud.
Stark said 2009 rookie J.A. Happ was a possibility to be included in Drabek’s place, but Drabek is the much more popular name elsewhere.
So, if this is the deal, then it’d be a stellar move for Seattle. Aumont could well turn into a closer and Gillies is pretty interesting, but to get one of the game’s top five pitchers for those two would be a flat-out steal and it’s incredible that the Phillies couldn’t do better elsewhere.
Things also look a better for the Blue Jays. Drabek isn’t without risk, but he’s one of the game’s top-10 pitching prospects. With his legitimate No. 1 or No. 2 starter potential, he’s a big upgrade from Aumont.
As for the Phillies, well, the price for Halladay is certainly fair, but they’re not getting nearly enough in return for Lee. That’s quite a bit of talent they’re bleeding for what should be a very modest upgrade in 2010. They definitely have their eyes on 2011 here, as Halladay’s extension will be quite a bit more reasonable than what Lee was requesting. Still, I don’t think it was worth sacrificing Drabek’s potential to get the swap done. There should have been a more reasonable deal available if they had let the league know that Lee was up for grabs.

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.