Mike Napoli still hasn’t anchored himself to a major league team for the upcoming season, but FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman speculates that the Twins might be just what he’s looking for.
While it’s all conjecture at this point, Heyman cites comments made by Twins’ GM Thad Levine, who told press on Friday that the team is actively searching for a veteran clubhouse leader. Napoli fits the bill off and on the field, where he batted a career-high 34 home runs for the Indians in 2016 (never mind the .239/.335/.465 slash line or the career-high 194 strikeouts).
Despite some early inquires from the Orioles and Astros, the 35-year-old infielder has received the most substantial interest from the Rangers this offseason. The club is reportedly only interested in offering a one-year deal, however, and it’s unclear whether or not Napoli is interested in a short-term situation moving forward. Should the Twins come knocking, Heyman notes that they’ll likely have to consider a platoon at first base/DH with Joe Mauer in order to accommodate Napoli in the lineup.
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.