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Greatest Early Storylines out of 2024 MLB Spring Coaching

Joel Reuter February 17, 2024 Biggest Early Storylines out of 2024 MLB Spring Training 0 of 9 Sam Hodde/Getty Images The start of spring training often brings with it a flurry of news, from early injury reports to extension talks to rumors surrounding what remains of the offseason free-agent and trade markets. With pitchers and

Greatest Early Storylines out of 2024 MLB Spring Coaching

Joel ReuterFebruary 17, 2024

Greatest Early Storylines out of 2024 MLB Spring Coaching

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    ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 28: Jordan Montgomery #52 of the Texas Rangers pitches in the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks during Game Two of the World Series at Globe Life Field on October 28, 2023 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

    Sam Hodde/Getty Photos

    The beginning of spring coaching usually brings with it a flurry of reports, from early damage reviews to extension talks to rumors surrounding what stays of the offseason free-agent and commerce markets.

    With pitchers and catchers already reporting and the beginning of spring coaching video games quick approaching, now could be the right time for a fast roundup of the largest storylines to emerge out of Arizona and Florida within the early days of the MLB preseason.

    Forward is a rundown of all the newest information from throughout baseball, together with a fast checklist of the highest remaining free brokers in one of many slowest transferring markets in current reminiscence.

    The lengthy, chilly winter is sort of over, baseball followers!

Zack Wheeler Extension Talks

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    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 16: Zack Wheeler #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches in the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks during Game One of the Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 16, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    Elsa/Getty Photos

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    The Philadelphia Phillies moved rapidly to re-sign Aaron Nola to a seven-year, $172 million deal this offseason, locking up their homegrown ace simply 17 days after he formally grew to become a free agent.

    Now they’re attempting to do the identical with co-ace Zack Wheeler.

    Coming into the ultimate season of a five-year, $118 million contract that may go down as some of the profitable nine-figure offers ever given to a pitcher, Wheeler is poised to be one of many prime arms in the marketplace subsequent winter.

    This is a take a look at among the notable beginning pitchers set to succeed in free company:

    • Corbin Burnes
    • Zack Wheeler
    • Max Fried
    • Walker Buehler
    • Max Scherzer
    • Shane Bieber

    Wheeler confirmed earlier this week that the Phillies have initiated extension talks together with his brokers, and by all accounts it appears like he’s open to sticking round if the 2 sides can nail down a brand new deal.

    “I like it right here,” Wheeler told reporters. “We’re completely happy right here. It is a good group. We’re profitable, and all issues are wanting nice and proper. So, I might like to be right here.”

    Wheeler is three years older than Nola, so an identical deal won’t be within the playing cards, however a four-year extension for the next annual worth might make sense for either side.

Orioles Coping with Harm Points

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    Kyle Bradish

    Kyle BradishMitchell Layton/Getty Photos

    After the blockbuster transfer to amass ace Corbin Burnes from the Milwaukee Brewers, the Baltimore Orioles have landed at spring coaching with a little bit of a thud, with a information dump on Thursday bringing a wave of damage reviews.

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    Alex Quick @AlexFast8

    So what we have discovered within the final 5 minutes in abstract is…

    Bradish – proper UCL sprain, open the season on IL
    Means – month behind, would possibly miss OD
    Henderson – indirect aggravation, seemingly for OD
    Basallo- stress fracture, will not catch until April

    unique sources: @JakeDRill

    Kyle Bradish was considered one of baseball’s greatest breakout stars in 2023, ending fourth in AL Cy Younger voting whereas going 12-7 with a 2.83 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 168 strikeouts in 168.2 innings over 30 begins.

    The 27-year-old has obtained a PRP injection in his elbow and can attempt to pitch by means of his UCL damage, however he’s a lock to begin the yr on the injured checklist, and left-hander John Means is predicted to affix him. That leaves Burnes, Grayson Rodriguez and Dean Kremer as the one locks to interrupt camp with a rotation spot.

    The indirect damage to 2023 AL Rookie of the 12 months Gunnar Henderson at the least comes early sufficient in spring coaching that he ought to be capable to get wholesome earlier than the beginning of the yr assuming there are not any setbacks.

    A less-than-ideal begin to 2024 for the defending AL East champs to say the least.

Orioles Linked to Jesús Luzardo

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    MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Jesus Luzardo #44 of the Miami Marlins pitches in the first inning during the game between the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park on Sunday, September 17, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Kelly Gavin/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

    Kelly Gavin/MLB Photographs through Getty Photos

    Miami Marlins left-hander Jesús Luzardo has been some of the steadily talked about names on the offseason commerce market, and there is nonetheless an opportunity a deal might get carried out earlier than Opening Day.

    Regulate the Baltimore Orioles.

    “The Marlins have been keen to take heed to proposals for pitcher Jesús Luzardo all offseason, and sources say the Baltimore Orioles displayed probably the most curiosity,” wrote Barry Jackson and Craig Mish of the Miami Herald.

    With membership management by means of the 2026 season, the Marlins have reportedly been in search of a much bigger return than the Milwaukee Brewers obtained from the Orioles within the Corbin Burnes commerce, which is sensible contemplating Burnes will likely be a free agent after the 2024 season and is actually a one-year rental.

    With Kyle Bradish and John Means each sidelined and Bradish coping with a UCL damage, the Orioles might renew their curiosity in a cope with the Orioles.

    The Miami Herald report talked about catcher Samuel Basallo and infielder Joey Ortiz as two gamers the Marlins had been probably concentrating on, and whereas Ortiz has since been included within the Burnes commerce, the Orioles have one of many deepest farm programs in baseball and the commerce chips to swing nearly any deal they need.

Rays to Begin José Caballero, René Pinto

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    René Pinto

    René PintoMegan Briggs/Getty Photos

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    The Tampa Bay Rays have prioritized protection as a lot as any crew in baseball through the years, they usually have been extra keen than most to make the most of a glove-first participant in a big position all through the course of the season.

    Infielder Taylor Partitions is a first-rate instance from final season, as he hit simply .201/.305/.333 for a 79 OPS+ over 349 plate appearances, however was a 2.0-WAR participant due to his plus protection at second base, shortstop and third base.

    With Partitions recovering from hip surgical procedure and anticipated to begin the yr on the injured checklist, an identical participant in José Caballero was acquired from the Seattle Mariners in alternate for Luke Raley this offseason.

    Caballero had a 2.4-WAR rookie season in 2023, regardless of hitting .221 with a 90 OPS+ in 104 video games, offering stellar center infield protection. The 27-year-old is now expected to interrupt camp as Tampa Bay’s beginning shortstop amid the continuing uncertainty of Wander Franco’s future.

    In the meantime, it’ll even be a largely unproven starter behind the plate, with René Pinto at present the one catcher on the 40-man roster and no exterior additions to compete for the beginning job anticipated.

    Pinto, 27, posted a 97 OPS+ with six residence runs and 16 RBI in 105 plate appearances final season, which represents above-average manufacturing on the catcher place. He additionally graded as a top quality pitch-framer, and has proven offensive potential within the minors with a 20-homer season in 2021 and an .842 OPS at Triple-A in 2022.

Rangers Not Planning to Make Any Extra Additions

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    Jordan Montgomery

    Jordan MontgomerySam Hodde/Getty Photos

    After spending a ton of cash the previous two offseasons and reaping the rewards of that aggressiveness with a World Collection title in 2023, the Texas Rangers have been comparatively quiet this winter, due largely to the continued uncertainty surrounding their 2024 TV deal.

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    Consequently, additional additions this offseason don’t appear to be on the desk, although common supervisor Chris Younger stopped in need of fully slamming the door on one other signing whereas speaking to reporters earlier this week.

    “I do not assume there are any additions coming at this level,” Younger told reporters. “However I’ve mentioned earlier than we are going to hold an open thoughts. I do know there’s various free brokers nonetheless on the market. At this level, the group we’ve got within the clubhouse is primarily the group. If there is a chance so as to add, we would definitely be open to that.

    “That mentioned, the TV uncertainty is actual. We do not know what it seems like past this yr. This can be a monetary accountability that we’ve got to function with, and till we’ve got that certainty … our payroll is at an all-time excessive.”

    There have been rumblings of a possible reunion with left-hander Jordan Montgomery all through the offseason, and maybe these feedback are simply posturing by the Rangers in an effort to realize some leverage.

    With Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer and Tyler Mahle all set to open the season on the injured checklist, the projected Opening Day rotation is Nathan Eovaldi, Jon Grey, Andrew Heaney, Dane Dunning and Cody Bradford.

Angels Prone to Function at Decrease Payroll, Nonetheless Concentrating on Prime Names

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    Cody Bellinger

    Cody BellingerDavid Berding/Getty Photos

    Los Angeles Angels proprietor Arte Moreno spoke to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register earlier this week on quite a lot of subjects, and whereas him saying he has no plans to promote the crew was the largest takeaway, there was additionally a notable nugget on the membership’s 2024 plans.

    Moreno mentioned he plans to “set the funds decrease” relative to final season, balking on the concept of spending simply to spend if it isn’t going to considerably change the crew, however that does not essentially shut the door on a significant signing.

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    Let us take a look at what it means from a numbers perspective:

    The Angels have lengthy seemed like a possible touchdown spot for Blake Snell, they usually might simply match a long-term deal for him on the books whereas nonetheless enjoying out the 2024 season with a considerably decrease payroll than final yr.

    To that time, Jon Heyman of the New York Put up reported on Thursday: “The Angels have been mulling whether or not to make a run at big-time free brokers [Blake] Snell, [Jordan] Montgomery or Cody Bellinger.”

    He additionally talked about Amed Rosario, Enrique Hernández and Michael Lorenzen as potential smaller-scale targets.

    Do not sleep on the Angels nonetheless making some noise within the coming weeks.

Rob Manfred Period Coming to an Finish in 2029

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    TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 15: Commissioner of Major League Baseball Robert D. Manfred Jr. speaks during the 2024 Grapefruit League Spring Training Media Day at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Thursday, February 15, 2024 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

    Mike Carlson/MLB Photographs through Getty Photos

    The Rob Manfred period as MLB commissioner now has an finish date.

    His present contract expires in January 2029, and he announced earlier this week that he doesn’t intend to hunt re-election at that time, which implies there will likely be a altering of the guard in Main League Baseball’s prime management place.

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    Manfred, who’s in his tenth yr as commissioner, will go away behind an advanced legacy. He has been the goal of criticism for the way in which he dealt with the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, the contentiousness with the MLBPA over the last CBA negotiations and the continuing frustrations surrounding native TV blackouts.

    Nevertheless, he additionally carried out a number of impactful tempo of play modifications, introduced the long-overdue common designated hitter to the Nationwide League, and expanded the postseason format in a approach that has helped create extra parity.

    The query now turns into who will take his place.

    If Vegas had been taking bets, I might toss $20 on Theo Epstein proper now, however there may be nonetheless numerous time for potential candidates to emerge.

MLB Needs a Two-Week Free Company Window

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    Blake Snell

    Blake SnellCarmen Mandato/Getty Photos

    With Blake Snell, Cody Bellinger, Jordan Montgomery and Matt Chapman headlining an extended checklist of free brokers who stay unsigned with spring coaching now underway, it is no shock that potential modifications to the free company system have been a speaking level.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke on the concept of a shortened free company signing interval in December that retains issues from dragging out, just like the frenzied free company seen within the NBA and NFL.

    “We truly made proposals to that impact to the MLBPA. They weren’t warmly obtained,” Manfred told reporters. “With the system we’ve got proper now, one of many ways that is obtainable to participant representatives is to stretch out the negotiation within the perception they’ll get a greater deal. That is a part of the system proper now. There’s not loads we are able to do about it. Definitely, from an aspirational perspective, we would quite have two weeks of flurried exercise in December, ideally across the winter conferences the place you are all there to write down about it.”

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    It isn’t onerous to see how that might shift negotiating leverage from the gamers to the homeowners, and Manfred has usually put the curiosity of the billionaire possession teams forward of the gamers all through his tenure as commissioner, so the MLBPA pushing again is no surprise.

    Nonetheless, the truth that it was mentioned might make it a focus of the subsequent CBA negotiations, and it is price additional exploring the concept of potential modifications to a system that has faltered this offseason.

Prime Remaining Free Brokers

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    Matt Chapman

    Matt ChapmanMegan Briggs/Getty Photos

    The next gamers are nonetheless obtainable from our Top 100 free agents checklist that was revealed firstly of the offseason, with their spot in these rankings offered for context:

    4. SP Blake Snell
    5. 1B/OF Cody Bellinger
    7. SP Jordan Montgomery
    8. 3B Matt Chapman
    16. DH J.D. Martinez
    22. RHP Mike Clevinger
    30. OF Michael A. Taylor
    33. SS Tim Anderson
    35. IF/OF Whit Merrifield
    38. OF Tommy Pham
    39. SP Michael Lorenzen
    44. SS Amed Rosario
    46. OF Adam Duvall
    50. 1B Brandon Belt
    55. OF Eddie Rosario
    69. 1B C.J. Cron
    70. IF Gio Urshela
    77. 1B Joey Votto
    80. OF Randal Grichuk
    81. RP Ryne Stanek
    82. IF/OF Enrique Hernández
    83. IF Donovan Solano
    92. 1B/OF Garrett Cooper
    94. OF Robbie Grossman
    96. 2B Kolten Wong
    97. SP Zack Greinke

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