Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs settle, avoid arbitration

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Per ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, starter Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs have agreed on a $5.345 million salary for 2014, avoiding arbitration.

Samardzija had filed for $6.2 million while the Cubs filed for $4.4 million. Their agreed-upon salary is ever so slightly above the $5.30 million midpoint between the figures submitted by the two sides.

Samardzija’s future with the Cubs is still up in the air. The right-hander will be eligible for arbitration for the third and final time next off-season and he will be eligible for free agency after the 2015 season. The two sides were reportedly far apart on an extension last month.

The Cubs have now settled all four of their arbitration cases. They agreed to a $3.9 million salary with starter Travis Wood on January 24, $2 million with outfielder Justin Ruggiano on January 29, and $2.3 million with second baseman Darwin Barney on February 6.

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.