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Rob Manfred still wants to improve pace of play

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MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has his eye on the pitch clock again. During the Owners Meetings on Friday, Manfred talked at length about his desire to improve the pace of play, citing the need for an “ongoing effort” to shorten games in order to make them more appealing to fans.

Per MLB.com’s Paul Hagen, that could mean the resurfacing of the pitch clock, which limits pitchers to a 20-second delivery window. It’s a method that has only been experimented with in the minor leagues so far, shortening games by as many as 16 minutes. Despite its effectiveness, there have been many arguments against implementing the pitch clock on a big league-level. It has the potential to be overly distracting, both to players and to crowds. Some players think it could rush the hitter or negatively affect a pitcher’s arm, while others think it affords pitchers an excessive amount of time to deliver a pitch. Still others, both players and fans, don’t see anything wrong with a more leisurely pace of play — even the kind that breeds four-hour, 32-minute NLDS-clinching marathons.

Nothing looks close to being agreed upon at this point, though discussions between the owners and players’ association are ongoing. Manfred suggested that there may be multiple approaches to the issue, which is one he feels that “players, owner, umpires — everyone who is invested in this game” should be concerned with. Whether or not he receives the kind of collaboration and compromise he’s seeking remains to be seen.

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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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.

Rockies sign 30-year lease to stay in Coors Field

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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.