Cardinals GM John Mozeliak is planning on taking two players to arbitration hearings this winter, per a report by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The club was unable to settle with right-handers Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez, and took a hard-line approach in hopes of getting arbitration-eligible players to settle by Friday’s deadline.
Mozeliak explained the team mindset as they prepare for the upcoming hearing, adding that he doesn’t intend to settle with either player in the interim:
Historically, this is not something we have had to focus on. […] Energy and where we’ll be headed over the next few weeks will be mostly focused on that. … We do have time. But our strategy was if we file and exchange then we would take it to hearing.
Wacha, 25, had an off year with the Cardinals, going 7-7 with a career-worst 5.09 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 rate through 138 innings. He requested $3.2 million for the 2017 season, which was countered with $2.8 million.
Martinez, who recently reiterated his interest in extending his career in St. Louis, filed at $4.25 million. The club offered $3.9 million. The 25-year-old went 16-9 in 2016 with a 3.04 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 rate in 195 1/3 innings.
As Goold pointed out in his initial report, the Cardinals have not been to an arbitration hearing since 1999, when left-hander Darren Oliver and agent Scott Boras lost to the Cardinals over a sum of $3.55 million.
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.