The Giants made another hefty commitment to a left-handed reliever on Sunday, re-signing Javier Lopez to a two-year, $8.5 million contract, the Associated Press reports.
It’s a big payday for Lopez, who is getting his first ever multiyear contract at age 34. He earned $2.35 million while amassing a 2.72 ERA and 20 holds in 53 innings last season.
The Giants stepped up with the big offer to Lopez even though they’re still in limbo with Jeremy Affeldt. It’s believed they’d prefer to re-sign Affeldt to another two-year deal instead of picking up his $5 million option for 2012.
Lopez pitched for five teams before joining the Giants in a trade with the Pirates during the summer of 2010. He held left-handers to a .163 average last season and didn’t give up a homer to any of the 222 batters he faced.
Lopez and Affeldt probably rated as the top two lefty relievers on the market this winter, with Darren Oliver and Mike Gonzalez next in line.
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.