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Major League Baseball wants a 30-second limit on manager replay challenges

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Jayson Stark of ESPN reports that Major League Baseball wants a 30-second time limit for managers to decide whether or not to challenge an umpire’s call. Whether it will be a hard limit or a guideline, strongly encouraged from above, is not yet clear.

As Stark notes, the total time the average replay review takes has been going down year-by-year. The decision about whether to challenge or not, however, has been lagging, with each team employing a dedicated reply guy who calls to the manager when he thinks a call should be challenged.

I’ve still never seen a compelling explanation of why the decision to review a play should be the subject of a manager’s challenge. Doing so turned replay into a matter of gamesmanship and strategy and has led to things like the replay review to see if a guy’s hand came off the bag for a milisecond as he slid. An impartial umpire in the booth, aware that such things have been allowed by umpire discretion for 150 years, would ignore it. In the hands of an interested party of course such imperfections will be exploited.

I suppose that’s another conversation, however.

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.