What will it take to keep Adrian Gonzalez?

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Now that the Red Sox have reached a tentative agreement to acquire Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres in exchange for right-hander Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, outfielder Reymond Fuentes and a player to be named later, it’s time to ask how much money it will take to keep him for the long-term.

Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com tweeted this morning that Gonzalez wants a “Howard-like contract.” And as I mentioned earlier, if that’s the case, the Red Sox should be jumping for joy.

Of course, the Phillies were panned for signing Howard to a five-year, $125 million extension in March, so what’s the difference here? Well, the extension doesn’t even begin until the 2012 season. Howard will be 32 years old by then. Gonzalez, by contrast, doesn’t turn 29 years old until next May and has been the superior player to Howard over the past three seasons.

In the end, this comp may be all wrong. Rival executives and and agents told Buster Olney of ESPN.com this morning that Gonzalez is “very much in line” to ask for a seven or eight year contract worth between $20-23 million per season, which would put him very close to the eight-year, $180 million contract Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees in December of 2008. Gonzalez compares more favorably to Teixeira than he does to Howard, so it’s not an unreasonable conclusion to make. Either way, this one stands a good chance to surpass Manny Ramirez’s eight-year, $160 million contract as the richest in franchise history.

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.