From the Twins’ official Twitter feed comes word that the club has traded catcher Jose Morales to the Rockies for young left-hander Paul Bargas.
Morales, 27, hit .194/.295/.250 with zero home runs, two doubles and seven RBI over 36 at-bats in 2010 for the Twins. He will serve as a rarely-used backup in Colorado behind Chris Iannetta, who is finally getting a chance at real playing time.
Iannetta had 16 homers in 289 at-bats for the Rockies in 2009 and 18 homers with an 895 OPS back in 2008. When given everyday looks, he has produced. Now it’s time for him to produce over the course of an entire season.
Bargas was selected by Colorado in the 13th round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft. He hasn’t climbed out of Single-A, but the 22-year-old posted a solid 3.59 ERA and 1.12 WHIP over 67.2 innings this past year in the South Atlantic League and may have a future as a big league setup man if he continues to flash good numbers down on the farm.
The Twins appear comfortable with Drew Butera serving as Joe Mauer’s primary backup in 2011.
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.
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.