The Opener: Rodriguez, Lefty Relief, Offseason Reviews


With Opening Day just four weeks away, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:

1. Rodriguez to make spring debut for the Orioles:

Top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez will be making his spring debut for the Orioles today, the team as announced. Rodriguez has long been considered one of the very top prospects in the game, and is now fully healthy after missing three months with a lat strain in 2022. Orioles GM Mike Elias has made clear that Rodriguez will have every opportunity to make the Opening Day rotation in 2023, leaving this outing as the beginning of Rodriguez’s quest to both rise to that challenge and stay healthy in doing so. Rodriguez’s start, which will be caught by fellow star youngster Adley Rutschman, will come at 12:05pm CT this afternoon.

2. Lefty Relief Market Update

The market for left-handed relievers seemed to be kicking into gear at the start of Spring Training, when Andrew Chafin and Matt Moore landed in Arizona and Anaheim, respectively. That never fully came to fruition, though, as Zack Britton, Will Smith, and Brad Hand all continue to linger on the market. Each lefty has a long track record of success and plenty of late inning experience, but struggled to some extent in 2022: Britton with injury, Smith prior to his trade to the Astros, and Hand down the stretch.

Britton held a workout for six teams last month, potentially revealing some insight into his market. It’s been quieter on Smith and Hand, though speculatively speaking, the Guardians could show some increased interest in any of the remaining southpaws after reliever Sam Hentges was shut down due to a shoulder issue. Hentges, who had a breakout showing in 2022, was the only lefty locked into a spot in manager Terry Francona’s bullpen.

3. Offseason In Review Series

As MLBTR’s Offseason In Review series continues, a pair of team-specific chats are set to be held today: one regarding Anthony Franco’s review of Arizona’s offseason, and one regarding Darragh McDonald’s review of the Angels offseason, which will be posted later today. Anthony’s Diamondbacks chat will take place at 5pm CT, while Darragh’s Angels chat will be at noon CT. Those links will allow you to submit a question in advance, take you to the live chats when they begin, and allow you to read the transcripts once they have been completed. Be sure to keep an eye out for both chats this afternoon!

You must be logged in to post a comment Login