Fading Tigers could make August deals

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They’ve yet to admit that they’re sellers, but the Tigers have some trade possibilities while sitting 9 1/2 games back of the Twins in the AL Central and 14 games off the pace in the wild card.
Indications are that Johnny Damon, who is on a one-year, $8 million contract, has yet to be placed on waivers. He’s slumping again recently, but he’s hitting .278/.364/.420 for the year. He probably wouldn’t make it all of the way through waivers, but the Red Sox or Rays could claim him and work out a deal with Detroit. He’d seem to be a huge upgrade over Willy Aybar in the DH slot for Tampa Bay.
Definitely yet to go on waivers, according to a flip-flopping Ken Rosenthal anyway, is Brandon Inge. Inge would probably get claimed quickly, given that he has only about $1.5 million left on his contract. He’d be a possibility to solidify third base for the Angels or White Sox or serve as a backup for the Yankees. The Tigers, though, may prefer to keep him and try to re-sign him for 2011.
Jhonny Peralta, who was picked up last month to help fill in for an injured Inge, would be sure to clear waivers. He’s another slumping Tiger, having hit just .188/.278/.333 for his new team. Still, he could be of use to the Braves with Chipper Jones down.
Jeremy Bonderman, another free-agent-to-be, would clear waivers because of his $12.5 million salary. His 4.96 ERA isn’t very impressive, but he has an 86/35 K/BB ratio in 119 2/3 innings and he posted a 3.60 ERA and a 16/2 K/BB ratio in his three starts against NL teams during interleague play.
Finally, there’s Carlos Guillen. As a declining, injury-prone player with a $13 million salary, he’s not going to top anyone’s list of potential August acqusitions. However, if the Tigers were willing to eat his salary, he could come in real handy as a part-timer with his ability to play three infield spots and left field. I don’t think he’s a Chipper replacement, but he could be of use in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the fact that he’s owed another $13 million next year figures to keep him in Detroit.

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.