GM says multiple teams are interested in Akinori Iwamura

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General manager Neal Huntington said yesterday that “a small number of teams have expressed mild interest” in Akinori Iwamura after the Pirates designated him for assignment last week.
However, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette “a trade remains far from certain” and “it’s extraordinarily unlikely that any team would assume more than the required $300,000 or so of Iwamura’s remaining $2.93 million.”
Huntington has said that he’d like to trade Iwamura to give him a chance for playing time elsewhere, but if a deal can’t be worked out the Pirates figure to retain him at Triple-A. Iwamura has the right to refuse an assignment to minors if he clears waivers, but doing so would require forfeiting the rest of his contract and he seems particularly unlikely to pass up a couple million bucks when another big payday now looks like a long shot.
Iwamura has plenty of experience at second base and third base, so in theory he’d be a decent fit as a utility man for a contender, but he’s looked several steps slow defensively since returning from knee surgery and lost his starting job to rookie Neil Walker after hitting just .182 in 54 games.

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.