Red Sox set to announce Josh Beckett extension

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The Red Sox have scheduled a press conference about Josh Beckett for three o’clock this afternoon, which likely means the two sides have officially agreed to the contract extension that was reported to be close last week.
Beckett’s new deal is expected to cover four seasons and pay the 31-year-old right-hander about $68 million. Toss in the $12 million he’s making this season and the Red Sox will owe Beckett a total of $80 million over the next five years, which is essentially identical to the five-year, $82.8 million contract Boston just handed out to John Lackey as a free agent.
Beckett struggled last night in his 2010 debut, serving up back-to-back homers to Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson on the way to giving up five runs in 4.2 innings and failed to record more than one strikeout in a start for the first time since mid-2007.
However, even with that ugly outing he’s 65-34 with a 4.08 ERA and 724/206 K/BB ratio in 796.2 innings spread over 123 starts for the Red Sox, plus 5-1 with a 3.88 ERA in the playoffs. Acquired along with Mike Lowell from the Marlins for a package that included Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez in November of 2005, he’s currently in the final season of a three-year, $30 million deal.
Beckett, Lackey, and Jon Lester are now each under the Red Sox’s control through 2014.

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.