Mariners finalize deal with lefty Joe Saunders and designate Mike Carp for assignment

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From MLB.com’s Greg Johns comes word that the Mariners have officially announced their one-year, $6.5 million contract with left-hander Joe Saunders. The deal includes another $1 million in performance-based incentives and a mutual option for 2014.

To clear a spot on their 25- and 40-man rosters, the M’s designated outfielder Mike Carp for assignment. He’s a 26-year-old with a decent .740 career OPS and should draw interest from several teams.

Saunders, 31, registered a 4.07 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 174 2/3 innings last season between the D’Backs and Orioles. He had a 3.69 ERA in 212 innings with Arizona in 2011, though he struck out only 108 hitters.

Seattle has added Saunders, Michael Morse, Kendrys Morales, Kelly Shoppach, Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay so far this offseason. And Jon Garland and Kameron Loe, if you want to count them too.

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.