The Nats sign Eric Bruntlett, some other guy

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The Washington Nationals have signed infielder Eric Bruntlett and first baseman Josh Whitesell.

The shocking thing about this is not so much that someone managed to snatch up Bruntlett and Whitesell before the bidding wars began, as it is that we learn about it through a team press release.

My guess:  Buster Olney and Ken Rosenthal were both trying to be the first to break this baby, encountered each other as they were going to meet the same source in a parking garage somewhere, and then killed each other in pitched battle, with the story being the ultimate victim in all of this.

As for the deals themselves, I can only assume that Bruntlett’s championship pedigree will combine with Jason Marquis’ veteran presence (and according to reports, Marquis is a veteran) to put the Nats over the top in 2010.  I think they had to take Whitesell because his daddy donated the money for the scoreboard or something.

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.