According to the Associated Press, MLS commissioner Don Garber believes the Wilpons would make “great” owners of the league’s 20th franchise, despite their current financial and legal troubles.
“The success of our league is the core values of our ownership group and … I believe the Wilpons fit very well with our owners in terms of who they are and their values and their ethics,” Garber said. “I really hope they get through their issues quickly. I don’t believe the full story has been told, and I am very supportive of them.”
The Wilpons have been mentioned as potential MLS owners for a while now, as the league attempts to reboot the Cosmos and give the Red Bulls a rival in the New York market.
Mets executive vice president Dave Howard doesn’t deny the Wilpons’ interest, but tells Adam Rubin of ESPN New York it’s all in “the exploratory phase.” That’s a fancy way of saying we have no money.
Garber won’t rule out other investors or putting the 20th franchise in another market, but the pull to the Wilpons is understandable. There’s been talk in the past about potentially building a soccer stadium in the vacant Citi Field parking lot.
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.