Hank Aaron says PED punishments need to be increased

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All respect to Hank Aaron, but his status as the guy who was eclipsed in the record book by a steroids-fueled dude doesn’t render this sentiment any more rational than when someone else says it:

“I think it’s got to be a little bit more severe as far as penalties are concerned,” Aaron said. “I think 50 games is not enough. I’d like to see 100 games really. I think the second time, they need to just ban the player from baseball.”

The penalty is already nearly a 1/3 dock in pay and play. No other sort of cheating is penalized with anything close to the current level of PED penalties. Indeed, the suspensions given to players and managers who have physically assaulted people on the baseball field have been far less historically.

Unless Aaron or other proponents of tougher PED penalties have information that everyone else is lacking, we do not have an epidemic on our hands that requires addressing. We have people violating a rule on occasion, just like people occasionally break the law. And when someone is found to have, say, robbed a convenience store or cheated on their taxes, we don’t immediately call for doubling (or more) the penalties in place.

Seriously: if someone can point me to something — anything — that suggests (a) that there is rampant, undeterred PED cheating going on now; and (b) that doubling the penalties would combat it, I’m totally on board. But absent that, this sort of thing is kind of pointless. It’s a solution in search of a problem.

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.