The Blue Jays have reportedly signed free agent right-handed reliever Joe Smith to a one-year contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Details have yet to be released by the team, though Rosenthal notes that it appears to be a Major League deal.
Smith, 32, split his 2016 season between the Angels and Cubs, pitching to a combined 3.46 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and 6.9 SO/9 over 52 innings. It was far from a career year for the sidearmer, who suffered a rash of hamstring injuries that kept him on the disabled list for close to two months.
Assuming he remains healthy for a 2017 campaign, Smith will join a bullpen featuring right-hander Roberto Osuna, Joe Biagini and Jason Grilli, as well as newly-acquired left-hander J.P. Howell. The club is still short several left-handed options, though they have a few internal candidates to choose from this spring.
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.