One more winner from the Howard contract: Domonic Brown

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Domonic Brown.jpgI’ve not yet seen any statements from the Phillies on this, but in light of the Howard extension, is it at all likely that they’ll be able to sign Jayson Werth once he hits free agency this fall?

As of now, the Phillies’ contractual obligations for 2012 are $87 million for a mere eight players (thanks to Crashburn Alley for the figures).  Are they really going to go over $100 million for just nine guys? Because that’s what signing Werth will require.

This is not a rhetorical point. I really don’t know enough about the Phillies finances to know if all the success and full houses these past few years has placed them into a new, higher-budget reality in which they can justify such things.  Worth noting, though, that the Cliff Lee trade was motivated in part by the realization that, no, the team cannot simply sign whoever they want to. At least as of this past winter, it was determined that choices must be made.

And a big choice is coming this offseason. Jayson Werth is a hell of a player.  The team’s success these past couple of years has had a lot to do with him. Hardly any player is a must-sign kind of guy, and Werth isn’t one of them, but he is important, and if he goes, there will be a hole to fill.

The guy who will be called on to fill that hole is Domonic Brown.  He’s an impressive prospect to be sure. I had assumed that he’d be called up next year as a part time player/Ibanez fill-in and eventually would take over left field.  But if the Howard extension means that Werth leaves town, he’s going to need to be more than a prospect. He’s going to need to be a key contributor to the Phillies 2011 offense as its starting right fielder.

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.