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Report: Rays want “massive returns” for Chris Archer

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The Rays are reportedly seeking a big return for every player that has received inquires this offseason, according to Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin. That includes right-handed ace Chris Archer, who could command a return package to rival the one the White Sox received for Chris Sale last week.

As Topkin points out, Archer is older and less dominant than Sale, though he comes with a more team-friendly contract. Coming off of a career-best performance in 2015, the 28-year-old delivered a 4.02 ERA and 3.1 fWAR in 2016, seeing a significant decrease in his strikeout total and giving up a career-worst 30 home runs through 201 1/3 innings. He still profiles among the elite starters of the American League, however, and is controllable for five years at $38.5 million (via Topkin). Sale, by comparison, remains under club control for three years at $39.5 million.

Any deal involving Archer would likely require a top prospect or two, and Topkin suggests that the asking price may be too high for interested parties to meet. The same could be said for fellow right-hander Jake Odorizzi, whom the Rays appear equally reluctant to trade without a significant return. If the club deals anyone this winter, it will probably be right-handers Alex Cobb and Erasmo Ramirez or left-hander Drew Smyly, all of whom could be acquired for a much more reasonable price.

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.