With the 2022 season officially done after the Astros defeated the Phillies four games to two in the World Series, the hot stove is officially starting to heat up.
With general managers starting to tirelessly work on improving their clubs ahead of the 2023 season, let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories from the first week of the offseason.
Relievers Getting Paid Early On
While it may be some time before you see some of the biggest names come off the free agent board, one position that has been fast and furious in the first week of the offseason has been the reliever market.
The New York Mets and Edwin Diaz got the party started for relievers as he signed a five-year deal worth $102 million, a record for the highest contract ever given to a reliever in both average annual value and total. This season, Diaz went 3-1 with 32 saves, a 1.31 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, and 118 strikeouts in 62 innings.
Elsewhere, the San Diego Padres signed one of their own free-agent relievers in Robert Suarez, to a five-year deal worth $46 million. In his first year in the majors, the 32-year-old Suarez went 5-1 with a 2.27 ERA and 1.05 WHIP, and he struck out 61 in 47.2 innings.
Lastly, the World Series champion Astros are bringing back setup man Rafael Montero on a three-year, $34.5 million deal. First reported by Jeff Passan, Montero earned his new deal after going 5-2 with 14 saves, a 2.37 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 73 strikeouts in 68.1 innings.
Montero was acquired last year in a trade by general manager James Click as a throw in alongside Kendall Graveman from the Seattle Mariners.
Click Won’t Return With Astros
Speaking of James Click, the Houston Astros and the general manager have officially parted ways after Click rejected the one-year offer to return.
In a somewhat unprecedented move, Click was only offered a one-year contract by owner Jim Crane despite having taken the team to the World Series twice in his three-year tenure, including a championship this season.
Still, there have been reports since the beginning of the season that Click and Crane were never completely on the same page, despite the success on the field. As a result, Click now becomes available to go elsewhere and should easily find a spot given his recent success.
For the Astros, the search begins for a new general manager, but it appears that the lack thereof won’t negate the possibility of making signings, as Montero was inked after the split.
Dodgers To Re-Sign Kershaw, Lose Treinen
According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, it appears that Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to re-up for another year. It appears that the deal is for one year and roughly $20 million.
The 34-year-old Kershaw went 12-3 in 22 games this season for the Dodgers. He also has a 2.28 ERA and 0.94 WHIP and had 137 strikeouts in 126.1 innings.
Kershaw continues to be dominant, but health concerns also continue to be a factor. The last time that he pitched more than 28 starts was in 2015, and he hasn’t thrown more than 178.1 innings in that span, either.
Still, a healthy Kershaw gives the Dodgers veteran ace on the mound for a team that are the favorites to win the 2023 World Series (+550).
While Los Angeles brought back Kershaw, they are losing reliever Blake Treinen for 2023. The Dodgers announced on Friday that Treinen would likely miss most, if not all, of the 2023 season due to having surgery on his right shoulder labrum and rotator cuff.
Treinen only pitched in five games this season before being shelved with an injury. Last season, he went 6-5 with seven saves, a 1.99 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 85 strikeouts across 72.1 innings.
Treinen is signed through next season for $8 million. With a recovery timeframe of about ten months, it will be interesting to see if Treinen will be able to come back to help the Dodgers at the end of next season.