Blue Jays reportedly seeking a top prospect for Scott Downs

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Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that the Blue Jays “have been aiming high” with their asking price for reliever Scott Downs by “asking for one of the top two or three prospects in the farm systems of interested clubs.”
It’s important to note that “one of the top two or three prospects” in one farm system could be vastly better or worse than “one of the top two or three prospects” in another farm system, but either way Toronto is justified in asking a lot for Downs.
Not only is he a very good reliever, as an impending free agent likely destined for Type A status the Blue Jays could simply take a pair of compensatory draft picks for letting him walk.
Downs isn’t a household name because he’s yet to get an extended stint closing games, but he has a 2.55 ERA, .221 opponents’ batting average, and 256/107 K/BB ratio in 303 career innings as a reliever. He’s also much more than a left-handed specialist, holding right-handed batters to a .237 batting average since 2007.
Speier speculates that the Red Sox could make a run at Downs as a late-inning replacement for Hideki Okajimi, who has struggled this season.

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.