Blake Swihart won’t be making any appearances in left field during the 2017 season, per a report from Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. In fact, the only place the Red Sox want to see him is behind the plate.
The 24-year-old will compete against fellow catchers Sandy Leon and Christian Vasquez for a starting role during spring training. He was named the Opening Day catcher in 2016, but was demoted within the month and moved to left field upon his return to the majors in late May. His season came to a premature end in early June after Swihart suffered a severe left ankle sprain on a bad outfield catch.
Despite the uncertainty around Boston’s catching situation in 2017, one thing remains clear: they don’t want to part with any of their three backstops, at least for the time being. The Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro revealed that the Diamondbacks had asked about Swihart and Vasquez, but were told that the Red Sox were unwilling to deal either catcher this offseason. None of Boston’s young catchers have proven track records behind the plate just yet, and until they do, it makes sense for the club to keep their options open as they head into 2017.
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.
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.