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Elvis Araujo to play for Chunichi Dragons in 2017

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The Marlins finalized their two-year, $16 million deal with right-hander Brad Ziegler on Friday, designating left-hander Elvis Araujo for assignment in the process. According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, Araujo will play for the Chunichi Dragons of Nippon Professional Baseball in 2017.

The 25-year-old southpaw operated out of the Phillies’ bullpen in 2015 and 2016, posting a 5.60 ERA, 9.5 SO/9 and 5.6 BB/9 in 27 1/3 innings with Philadelphia last season. The Marlins claimed him off waivers in November when they were looking for an additional lefty to complement rookie left-hander Hunter Cervenka‘s efforts in the ‘pen. Now, however, it appears the club has changed their tune. Per Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel, president of baseball operations Michael Hill isn’t looking for a set number of right- and left-handed relievers when it comes to the composition of his relief corps, telling reporters, “Handedness didn’t come into play as much as finding the highest quality [reliever].”

No contract details were given regarding Araujo’s deal with the Chunichi Dragons, but he is currently the only former major leaguer slated for the 2017 roster following the release of middle infielder Anderson Hernandez, right-hander Juan Jaime and left-hander Leyson Septimo.

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.