With the Winter Meetings now in the rear view mirror, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. Will the Orioles change hands?
The Orioles are coming off a sensational season that saw them post an AL-best record of 101-61 as the core of young talent cultivated by GM Mike Elias and his front office in recent years finally came to fruition. While the club seems sure to once again be a force to be reckoned with in 2024, recent news created some off-the-field uncertainty for the Orioles’ regarding their future. Reporting indicated yesterday afternoon that David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group, was in talks to acquire the Orioles from the Angelos family. It’s unknown at what level those talks are occurring, but a change in ownership as the Orioles enter their competitive window could be a game changer for a club that (according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts) has posted a bottom-five payroll in the majors each of the past five seasons.
2. How much do the Diamondbacks have left to spend?
After reportedly agreeing to a four-year, $80MM contract with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez to shore up the club’s rotation, the Diamondbacks have dipped their toes into uncharted territory with regards to their payroll. The reigning NL champions have never posted a payroll higher than $131MM (per Cot’s) and yet RosterResource now projects the club for a $133MM payroll in 2023 as things currently stand. Will GM Mike Hazen and his front office have more room to spend as they follow up on last year’s deep postseason run? If there is additional payroll space in Arizona, the club is reportedly interested in offensive additions, including at DH.
3. Contracts waiting to be finalized:
Several contracts from the winter meetings have not yet been finalized and formally announced by their clubs at this point. Of particular noted are the pending one-year deal between utilityman Nick Senzel and the Nationals as well as the reported three-year agreement between infielder Jeimer Candelario and the Reds, as the deals would leave Washington and Cincinnati without any remaining space on their 40-man roster. That’ll force them to make corresponding moves for future additions to the 40-man this offseason. Other deals that have not yet been made official include the one between Arizona and Rodriguez as well as yesterday’s pact between the Mets and right-hander Jorge Lopez.