Rick Porcello opts out of contract, arbitration-eligible this winter

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According to James Schmehl of MLive.com, Rick Porcello has opted out of his contract and is now arbitration-eligible this winter.

After the Tigers drafted Porcello out of high school as the 27th pick of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, they signed him to a four-year, $7.285 million major-league deal which included club options for 2011 and 2012. He exercised his right to opt out of the $1.34 million option for 2012, which has the chance to be a pretty lucrative choice since he’s eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter as a Super Two player. He remains under team control through 2015.

Porcello, who turned 23 in December, has a 4.54 ERA over his first season in the big leagues, averaging 4.8 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. His 51.9 percent career ground ball rate is ninth among starters with at least 500 innings pitched since the start of the 2009 season.

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.