As the return of baseball continues to grow closer, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day:
1. Dodgers FanFest is tomorrow
For the first time since the the Dodgers won the World Series in 2020, Dodgers FanFest is set to return to Dodger Stadium. The free fan event will take place from 10am to 4pm local time on Saturday. In addition to interviews with players, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave Roberts both typically make themselves available to media at the event. The FanFest returns after an unusually quiet offseason for the Dodgers, who spent most of the offseason appearing to operate with the goal of ducking under the luxury tax this year to reset their penalties. The club weathered losses such as Trea Turner, Justin Turner, and Tyler Anderson, but Trevor Bauer’s reinstatement from suspension threw a wrench in those tax-reset plans, with Friedman saying he doesn’t expect to deal salaried players to get back under the tax for 2023.
2. Could more arbitration results be on the way?
Both of the past two days, we’ve heard the results of an arbitration hearing. Diego Castillo lost his case against the Mariners on Wednesday, while yesterday Luis Arraez won his case against the Marlins. More arbitration case results will trickle in throughout the next few days, including such big names like Bo Bichette and Max Fried, still waiting to finalize their 2023 contracts. Up until the last minute, teams and players are always free to agree to a deal to avoid arbitration, whether it’s on a one-year contract or on a multi-year extension — we’ve also seen such players as Jeff McNeil, Dylan Moore, and Yandy Diaz all sign extensions in recent days.
3. Will the Greinke deal be made official at last?
Ever since Zack Greinke re-signed with the Royals on a one-year deal, the wait has been on for the contract to become official. MLB.com’s Anne Rogers has said the signing can be expected to be made official this week, and whenever the move is made, the Royals will need to make a corresponding transaction to clear 40-man roster space. The Royals hope Greinke will help stabilize the rotation, as the veteran returns to pitch his ninth season in Kansas City and the 20th overall season of his excellent career. Though durability is a concern at Greinke’s age (39) and over 3247 innings of mileage on his arm, the right-hander has still delivered solid production. He posted ERA+ of 111 in 2022, marking his seventeenth consecutive season with an above-average mark in that metric.