With the World Series in the rear-view and the offseason officially underway, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on today:
1. Edwin Diaz Sets Records With New Mets Pact
The first major signing of the offseason occurred yesterday evening, with the Mets re-signing star closer Edwin Diaz to a massive five-year, $102MM contract. Diaz now becomes the first relief pitcher to ever secure a nine-figure deal, and the first with a deal of an average annual value north of $20MM. Diaz secured that contract by having a platform season for the ages, throwing 62 innings to a 1.31 ERA and a mind-boggling 0.90 FIP. While the Mets have plenty more to do in rebuilding the bullpen as Trevor May, Seth Lugo, and Mychal Givens depart for free agency, the Diaz re-signing serves as an important first step in that process. The record-setting contract also serves as a reminder of owner Steve Cohen’s willingness to flex financial muscle, which will be important as the Mets look to re-sign or replace players such as Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt, and Brandon Nimmo this offseason.
2. World Series Teams Examine Injuries
Though the 2022 World Series is now a thing of the past, the participants must now turn their focus to the injuries they suffered throughout the season that had been ignored in favor of playing through the postseason run. Most notable among these, of course, is Bryce Harper, who suffered UCL damage in May, with surgery this offseason a possibility. For the World Series champion Astros, three players have injuries to worry about entering the offseason: Alex Bregman suffered a broken finger late in Game 6 on Saturday, Yuli Gurriel missed Game 6 after a sprain to his MCL, and Martin Maldonado played through both a broken hand and a sports hernia this postseason, the latter of which will require surgery according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Bregman’s injury has the least question marks surrounding it, as he will reportedly be ready for Spring Training in 2023. More details could be announced regarding the rest of these injuries in the coming days.
3. Rule 5 Draft Protection Deadline Looms
As Mark Polishuk noted in his offseason preview, the deadline to add players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft is November 15th this year. Seeing as there was no R5 draft last offseason, teams will likely have more players to protect than usual, which could lead to roster crunches across baseball. This could also lead to some players getting cut from 40-man rosters a few days ahead of November 18th’s non-tender deadline, and some minor trades such as yesterday’s Sam Hilliard deal between the Rockies and Braves. Overall, with these dates being earlier on the offseason calendar, fans should expect a larger quantity of winter moves to happen in this first week of the offseason than in recent years, though said moves won’t necessarily be at the top of the free agent market.