Still broke Dodgers gain little in Pierre deal

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The Dodgers did the disgruntled Juan Pierre a favor by shipping him off to the White Sox and giving him a chance to play regularly, but instead of getting the overpriced pitcher they were looking for in return, the team settled for two modest prospects in right-handers John Ely and Jon Link and ate some salary.
So, now the Dodgers have opened up one more need and saved just $3 million for 2010. That there’s also $5 million of relief coming in 2011 makes it a fine big-picture move.
It’s just that Pierre was probably worth more than $3 million to the 2010 team.
Since the Dodgers have other needs and limited funds, they’ll probably stay in house in finding a replacement for Pierre. Xavier Paul and Jason Repko are both on the 40-man roster and it’s possible that both will make the team unless some minor league veterans are brought in.
The left-handed-hitting Paul missed most of last season, but he hit .328/.378/.500 in 116 at-bats for Triple-A Albuquerque when healthy. While he is a below average center fielder, he’s still playable there. Repko is better suited to being a fifth outfielder. He’s injury-prone and he strikes out a lot, but he’s a legitimate center fielder with pretty good speed, and as a right-handed hitter, he’d complement Paul.
Neither is an ideal solution, but it’d still make more sense for the Dodgers to put the $3 million towards an upgrade at second base rather than target a Randy Winn or a Scott Podsednik. That way, they’d still have the option of going to Blake DeWitt at third and Casey Blake in an outfield corner in the event of a major injury to Manny Ramirez or Andre Ethier. DeWitt currently tops the depth chart at second base, but his glove plays much better at the hot corner and the price tags for Felipe Lopez and Kelly Johnson should prove pretty reasonable.

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.