Welcome to The Opener, our new weekday morning series here at MLBTR! Nick Deeds will take you through three things to watch around MLB, with our typical hot stove leaning.
Here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world:
1. The World Series Sees Its Second No-Hitter
After watching Lance McCullers Jr. give up five home runs while Ranger Suarez shut the lineup out in Game 3, Astros fans were no doubt feeling a bit queasy headed into a Game 4 against Aaron Nola, one of the best pitchers in the NL. Just as they did in Game 1, however, the Astros lineup managed to get to Nolan, striking for five runs in the fifth inning. However, the Astros’ offense wasn’t the story of this game — Cristian Javier struck out nine over six shutout innings to combine with Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero, and Ryan Pressly for a no-hitter. It was the second no-hitter in World Series history (preceded by Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series), and just the third-ever postseason no-hitter (also at Citizens Bank Ballpark, Roy Halladay tossed a no-no in the 2010 NLDS). While there’s still plenty of baseball to be played this November, it’s worth noting that both Larsen’s Yankees and Halladay’s Phillies went on to win their respective series. For tonight’s pivotal Game 5, the Phillies will start Noah Syndergaard against Houston’s Justin Verlander.
2. The Mets Brace For Losses, Eye Additions In Free Agency
After a 101-win season that ended abruptly at the hands of the Padres in the Wild Card series, the Mets now face some significant free agent losses, and center fielder Brandon Nimmo and closer Edwin Diaz are reportedly the free agents New York wishes to retain the most. Mets owner Steve Cohen is certainly unafraid of making a splash in free agency, and the team will have to devote some more resources to rebuilding it rotation, as three starters (Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt, and Taijuan Walker) are likely to hit free agency this offseason, and a fourth could join them if the Mets decline Carlos Carrasco’s club option. Few players with deGrom’s level of potential impact exist in the game, much less on the free agent market, but Verlander and Carlos Rodon are both arms who could take deGrom’s place alongside Scherzer at the top of the rotation in Queens. The likes of Nathan Eovaldi, Jameson Taillon and Tyler Anderson represent possible mid-rotation replacements for Bassitt, while Walker’s quality back of the rotation production could be replaced by a variety of pitchers, including Syndergaard, Corey Kluber, or Sean Manaea.
3. Brewers Face Tough Decisions In Arbitration
In yesterday’s opener, we discussed the massive arbitration class the Rays have heading into 2023, with their 19 players being the most of any club. Milwaukee isn’t far behind with an 18-player class that is projected to receive $79.9MM, and thus the Brewers are set to approach their 2023 payroll even before making additions this offseason. While there are some non-tender candidates in the group, most of the significant money in Milwaukee’s arbitration class is tied up in productive players too valuable to just cut, so a trade of one of these more expensive names (i.e.Hunter Renfroe, Willy Adames) could make some sense. Of course, then the Brewers face the new problem of finding adequate replacements for their production for a lower price. Whatever path he may choose, GM Matt Arnold’s first offseason at the helm of the Brewers’s front office will be one to follow.