With spring training games having started, the World Baseball Classic about a week away, and the World Series in roughly a month, Major League Baseball fans are already ready to say “Play Ball” to the 2023 season.
Still, while players get their work in to prepare for the season and general managers make decisions on their Opening Day rosters, there is plenty of news circulating around baseball. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories from around the league this week.
Machado Gets His Deal
After speculation that he would opt out of his contract after the 2023 season surfaced earlier in the offseason, it appears that Manny Machado will be a San Diego Padre for the rest of his career.
On Sunday, news broke that the Padres and Machado were in agreement on an 11-year deal worth $350 million.
Machado had $180 million over six years remaining on his current deal, but he also had the ability to opt out of it at the end of this season. By agreeing to the new deal, it essentially adds $170 million over five years onto the existing deal.
Currently 30-years-old, this deal will basically take him through age 40. Given his production, it was hard to see the Padres letting Machado walk if a new deal wasn’t consummated.
Last year, Machado hit .298/.366/.531 with 32 home runs, 102 runs batted in, 110 runs scored and nine stolen bases in 578 at bats. In fact, in his four years with the Padres, he has hit 108 home runs while only batting under .278 once.
Add Machado to a lineup that includes Juan Soto, Xander Bogaerts, Jake Cronenworth, and the eventual return of Fernando Tatis Jr and you have a lineup that should compete for the NL West.
Currently, they have the second-best odds of winning the NL West at +135, and they have the sixth-best odds of winning the World Series at +1000.
Twins Pick Up Infield Depth
Earlier this week, the Minnesota Twins brought in some veteran infield depth as they signed Donovan Solano to a one-year deal worth $2 million (plus incentives).
The 35-year-old Solano hit .284/.339/.385 with four home runs, 24 runs batted in, and 22 runs scored in 278 at bats last season with Cincinnati.
While he won’t be an everyday player, he could potentially platoon with Alex Kiriloff at first base. Last season, against lefties, Solano hit .301/.348/.422. If he can keep that production going against southpaws, while also holding his own in the infield, he could be a viable option for a Twins team that has had a lot of infield turnover.
Minnesota currently has the second-best odds of winning the AL Central at +185, only trailing the reigning division champs, the Cleveland Guardians (+145).
Rhys Hoskins Taking It Easy This Spring
On Sunday, Phillies’ manager Rob Thomson disclosed that first baseman Rhys Hoskins had surgery over the offseason on his right knee to repair the meniscus.
While Hoskins is reportedly coming along well, Thomson indicated this is why he hadn’t gotten into a game yet and was not being rushed along this spring.
The Phillies had a magical run to the World Series last year, and Hoskins was a valuable asset in getting that far. In 589 at bats last regular season, the 29-year-old Hoskins hit .246/.332/.462 with 30 home runs, 79 runs batted in, and 81 runs scored.
The Phillies have the unenviable task of trying to work through the gauntlet that is the NL East. They currently have the third-best odds of winning the division (+300) and the seventh-best odds of winning the World Series (+1400).