With Spring Training games set to begin tomorrow, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on throughout the day today:
1. MLBTR’s Offseason In Review Series Begins
With the offseason now mostly over, the 2022-23 installment of MLBTR’s annual “Offseason in Review” series is set to begin today. Standing as a counterpart to the “Offseason Outlook” series, MLBTR publishes a look back at the offseason, signings, trades, and transactions for each of the 30 clubs. The series kicks off today with the Pirates, and following the post going live, MLBTR’s Darragh McDonald will be hosting a Pirates-centric live chat for readers at noon CT. If you’d like to submit a question in advance for that Pirates-centric chat, you can do so here. Fans of the other 29 teams should keep an eye out for their own team’s Offseason in Review installment as we continue the series throughout the coming weeks.
2. Will the Astros look to add depth following McCullers injury?
Yesterday, it was revealed that Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. is likely to miss the start of the 2023 campaign due to a muscle strain in his right arm. While it’s currently unknown exactly how much time McCullers will miss, it does shine a light on Houston’s starting pitching depth following last summer’s trade of Jake Odorizzi and Justin Verlander’s free-agent departure. With McCullers on the shelf, the Opening Day rotation for the Astros looks likely to be led by lefty Framber Valdez, who’ll pair with righties Cristian Javier, Luis Garcia, Jose Urquidy, and top prospect Hunter Brown. It’s still an enviable group, to be sure.
Should Houston’s rotation suffer another injury, however, the depth gets a bit shakier. Righty Brandon Bielak is perhaps the best option to take a turn in the rotation, given former top prospect Forrest Whitley’s struggles at the Triple-A level last season. It’s arguable the Astros should look to add low-cost depth this spring, be it through a minor trade or perhaps by signing a veteran like Dylan Bundy or Chris Archer to a minor league deal.
3. MLBTR Player Chat
Yesterday, MLBTR was pleased to welcome international scout and former major league pitchers Ryan Sadowski for a live chat with readers, the transcript of which you can read here. Today, our series of live chats with people around the game continues as we’re excited to welcome another former big leaguer who transitioned into a scouting career following the end of his time as a player. Brian Johnson spent parts of eight seasons as a catcher in the big leagues, from 1994 until 2001. His best season came in 1997, where he played in 101 games, slashing .261/.303/.443 (94 wRC+) while playing for both the Giants and the Tigers. Originally drafted by the Yankees, Johnson also played for the Padres, Reds, Royals, and Dodgers throughout his career. Johnson ended with 471 games played before moving on to a career in pro scouting, where he was with the Giants for all three of their World Series titles from 2010-14. Be sure to check back at 10am CT this morning for the live chat!
McCullers should’ve been moved to the bullpen long ago, much better spot for him. A starter who has elbow injuries every season, and doesn’t last more than 5 innings when fully healthy is a liability in the rotation. Much better suited for the pen.
Why not 6-man rotation for them? They have the pieces. Give Brown consistent IPs while wrapping McCullers in bubble-wrap when he returns. Brown would have a IP limit with it being his first full year.
steven st croix
They had a 6 man rotation the majority of the year last year, it seemed to work keeping JV healthy.
The SP depth, while still favorable, simply isn’t the same as last year. I think they’ve publicly said 5-man up front for this year because the team was planning on limited availability from at least one guy (LMJ).
As someone pointed out yesterday that is a moot argument. Relievers get into games 4-6 times a week (the top relievers) so you’re not really saving much of his arm at that point
That’s just not true. The most games anyone appeared in was 77 last year. That is about 3 games a week. A lot of good relievers and closers will only be in 2 games a week, or less.
Astros should check in with teams that are going no where and try and get another arm… Tigers have a couple young inexpensive guys like Brieske, Hill, Turnbull, Alexander… maybe even ERod if they are able to add payroll. It shouldn’t cost much in the way of prospects…
Why pay the prospects when you could just sign Chris Archer and hope to turn his career around like they did with Cole. I’m not saying Archer would get to Cole’s level but makes sense, the Astros minor league system isn’t exactly in the best shape
Tigers and Harris are not in teardown mode, so if you want one of their starting pitchers, it will cost you. While not at the same level as the Astros, the Detroit team hardly considers itself “going no where.”
How far along in their rehab do you want to get ’em will determine they’re value? The amount of arm injuries in that franchise of late is astonishing.