Sandy Alderson speaks about the Wilpon-Madoff drama

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Sandy Alderson was on a conference call today to discuss the R.A. Dickey signing. Everyone knew about that a week ago, however, so inevitably the topic of conversation switched to the whole Wilpons-have-to-sell-a-stake-of-the-Mets business. Alderson’s highlights:

“The plan and the course I’ve taken the last few months hasn’t been affected at all by any other outside factors. From my standpoint, when I interviewed and took this position I was of course aware of the preexisting involvement of the Wilpons and the Mets with Bernie Madoff. I wasn’t privy to all of the detail, nor am I or most of us at this point, and I would expect to be. At the same time, none of that has affected what I’ve done over the last two months and I don’t expect it will have any impact on what I do over the next several, including into the 2012 offseason.”

He was asked specifically about whether it will impact the Mets’ strategy with Jose Reyes, who is poised to become a very expensive free agent next winter if he has anything approaching a decent year:

“Perhaps naively, I don’t expect this situation will be a hindrance in that regard. I fully expect that decision will be made as it would’ve been, in the best interest of the team on the field and the best interest of the overall financial health as well as baseball future of the Mets, as it would be with every other team. Again, I go back to the notion that if a potential financial issue exists, ownership is proactively addressing it, and I don’t expect any financial situation will inhibit negotiations with Jose.”

Finally, he was asked if he has any regrets taking the job now that he know how bad the Wilpons’ financial troubles are:

“You’re right to say some circumstances have changed, but would it have changed my decision? I don’t think so…From my standpoint, I’m not surprised by this development just because the Madoff situation was a backdrop to the Mets, a well-known backdrop. My enthusiasm and energy for this position and my confidence in the Mets is undiminished.”

I think you gotta take him at his word on the last bit: it wouldn’t change his decision.  Everyone knew there were issues with the Mets. Alderson is actually in a no-lose position because of it. If the Mets win, he’s a wizard.  If they lose, hey, the Wilpons tied his hands because they were broke.

As for the plan being the same in 2011 and 2012 and for the Jose Reyes decision to be made on the same basis as it would have been?  Well, whatever you say, Sandy.

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.