With five weeks left until Spring Training begins, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on today throughout the baseball world:
1. Reported signings that could be made official
In one of last week’s Openers, we discussed three signings that could be made official in the coming days: Corey Kluber with the Red Sox, Evan Longoria with the Diamondbacks, and Wade Miley with the Brewers. Only Longoria’s signing has been made official to this point, with right-hander Edwin Uceta getting DFA’d in the corresponding move. An official announcement and corresponding move should still be in the works for both Kluber and Miley. In addition, two other deals from last week that could be made official in the coming days are the one-year, $5MM deal between Arizona and Zach Davies and the agreement between the Cubs and Eric Hosmer. Both Arizona and Chicago will need to make a corresponding move to clear 40-man roster space in order to add Davies and Hosmer, respectively.
2. What’s next for the Tigers?
This weekend’s five-player deal that sent Gregory Soto and Kody Clemens to Philadelphia in exchange for Nick Maton, Matt Vierling, and Donny Sands is the biggest move of Detroit’s offseason to this point. The Tigers addressed the most significant holes on their roster with this deal, as Maton can take the lion’s share of starts a third base, filling a hole left by the non-tender of Jeimer Candelario earlier this offseason. Vierling, meanwhile, serves as a much-needed righty complement to Detroit’s all-lefty outfield unit of Akil Baddoo, Riley Greene, Austin Meadows, and Kerry Carpenter. Of that group, only Greene posted productive numbers against southpaws (.303/.353/.394, 116 wRC+). So, what’s next for the Tigers? They certainly could make room for another bat, or even a rotation arm, if a deal arises that interests them.
The most pressing issue at this point, however, seems to be restocking the bullpen. Detroit’s relief corps has lost both Soto and Joe Jimenez to sell-side trades this offseason while also losing Wily Peralta and Andrew Chafin to free agency. That’s 210 1/3 innings of quality relief work in 2022 that won’t be returning in 2023, leaving the bullpen as the clearest place left where president of baseball operations Scott Harris can add to the club.
3. Will the Mariners keep adding?
With the addition of outfielder AJ Pollock on a one-year, $7MM deal, the Mariners have a platoon partner for former top prospect Jarred Kelenic if he succeeds in the majors in 2023 or some insurance in the outfield if Kelenic continues to struggle. Even with that pair in left, Julio Rodriguez in center and Teoscar Hernandez in right, there’s still room for another outfield-capable bat. Acquiring another outfielder would allow Hernandez to spend more time at designated hitter and ideally give manager Scott Servais another above-average bat to rotate through the outfield and DH mix. As it stands, the Mariners’ DH spot would likely be used for Hernandez and the occasional rest day for other regulars, which would allow names like Cooper Hummel, Dylan Moore and Sam Haggerty to get into the lineup elsewhere.