Despite reports that the Indians were done fishing in the free agent pool this offseason, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears that the club is still in conversation with several players, including “relievers, corner infielders and corner outfielders […] even Jose Bautista might not be out of the question.” There are a few caveats with this information, the most important of which is that the Indians are supposedly interested in Bautista only if his price tag drops to fit within the team’s budget.
Bautista, 36, remains one of the most viable hitters still on the market, even taking last year’s lackluster production rate into account. He batted .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and an .817 OPS for the Blue Jays in 2016, watching his overall value plummet from a respectable 4.4 fWAR in 2015 to just 1.4 in 2016. There’s no reason to believe that he can’t bounce back in 2017, however, and while the Indians’ outfield situation looks crowded as is, Rosenthal suggests that the veteran slugger could slot in at right field while Lonnie Chisenhall shifts to center.
With the addition of Bautista’s former teammate, designated hitter/first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, the Indians have already relinquished their first round draft pick heading into the 2017 season. To land Bautista, Rosenthal adds, they’ll have to give up their second-round selection, currently the No. 64 overall pick.
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.