Because of a unique clause in his contract Hisanori Takahashi became a free agent when the Mets failed to sign him to a new contract by November 5 and now Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that the Phillies are interested in signing him.
Philadelphia is already said to be close to a two-year deal to keep Jose Contreras, but the Phillies could view Takahashi as the left-handed replacement for J.C. Romero, whose $4.5 million option for 2011 was declined last week.
Takahashi split his rookie season between the bullpen and rotation but had most of his success as a reliever, going 6-2 with a 2.04 ERA in 41 relief outings compared to 4-4 with a 5.01 ERA in 12 starts.
New York reportedly offered Takahashi a one-year deal to stay, but various sources have suggested that the 35-year-old southpaw is looking for a two- or three-year contract worth around $5 million per season. He may have a tough time getting that much money for that many seasons, but the Phillies are apparently willing to sign Contreras to a multi-year deal and he’s actually four years older than Takahashi.
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.
Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is entering his 25th season as a professional baseball player and his 17th in the major leagues. The 43-year-old is potentially under contract through the 2018 season if the Marlins choose to pick up his club option.
Few players are able to continue their careers into their mid-40’s. No surprise, Suzuki is the oldest position player in baseball. Only Braves pitcher Bartolo Colon, is older, and only by 51 days. Suzuki, however, wants to play until he’s 50 years old, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports.
“I’m not joking when I say it,” Suzuki said. He continued, “Nobody knows what the future holds. But the way I feel, how I’m thinking, I feel like nothing can stop me from doing it. When you retire from baseball, you have until the day you die to rest.”
When asked about what will happen when Suzuki finally does decide to retire, Suzuki responded, “I think I’ll just die.”
Last season, Suzuki showed he still has plenty left in the tank. He hit .291/.354/.376 with 21 extra-base hits, 48 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 365 plate appearances. If the Marlins’ outfielders stay healthy, Suzuki won’t be starting many games in 2017. He started in right field frequently during the second half last year, filling in for the injured Giancarlo Stanton.