The deadline for teams and players to exchange arbitration figures was today, and after figures are exchanged deals tend not get done. As such, there are scores of players who have reached deals with their clubs today in order to avoid arbitration. We’re not tracking every single one — that’s rather tedious — but we’re mentioning the notable ones.
Maybe the most notable: Bryce Harper, who avoided arbitration with the Washington Nationals and will now make $13.625 million in 2018.
Harper made $5 million last season, the second one after signing a two-year deal in December of 2014. He’s still under team control through the 2018 season, so he and the Nats will have one more go-around with this next winter. He’ll turn 26 after that season and some suspect the 2015 MVP could command a long term contract of $400 million or more if he hits free agency.
The next two years will say a lot about that of course. His talent and marketability is undeniable. The only issue, really, is his health, which likely sapped his production in 2016. If he rakes this coming season he’ll likely get a record arbitration deal next winter and will set himself up for perhaps the largest contract in baseball history.
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.