UPDATE: A Reds source told the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay late Thursday evening that the club has “zero” interest in Matthews Jr. Here is Fay’s tweet from moments ago:
Reds source on Gary
Matthews Jr.: Zero interest. Listed 5 OFs in camp he’d take over
7:48pm: According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Reds are interested in acquiring outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. if he fails to beat out Angel Pagan for the Mets’ month-long centerfield opening.
Matthews Jr. posted a lousy 697 OPS in 316 at-bats for the Angels last season and was shipped to New York this winter for reliever Brian Stokes. If he makes the Mets’ final squad, and trumps Pagan, he will man the centerfield position until Carlos Beltran (knee)
returns to the field in May. If not, Matthews should be able to find ample playing time in Cincinnati. We’ll have to play the waiting game until late March and see how this one plays out.
Matthews, who turns 36 this season, has hit just .248/.325/.383 since signing a five-year, $50 million contract with Anaheim in November of 2006, but perhaps he’ll fare well with a move back to the National League.
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.
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.