The MLB is getting closer to the start of the 2023 season, but first, Spring Training games will be played. The league’s 30 MLB teams take the field in Arizona and Florida beginning today to warm up for the regular season and to give players a chance to show why they deserve a spot.
Royals, Rangers Rally In Arizona
One of the games that will kick off this MLB Spring Training will be between the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers. The Royals, with a younger roster, are hoping their crew will get back on track after last year’s performance. However, they’re still not among the top to compete for a title.
Matt Quatraro jumped from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Royals as their new GM, and a lot of changes are coming as a result. He brought with him some additional help through additional coaching changes and hopes to take KC on a deep run.
The Royals didn’t make a lot of changes in their pitching lineup in the offseason, but now have seven-time All-Star reliever Aroldis Chapman, brought over from the New York Yankees. He’s not a starter, but still has a lot of potential to step up when needed.
The Rangers reached a minor league deal recently with Robbie Grossman. He knows what he’s up against if he wants a spot on the starting lineup, and will have to put everything he has on the field. Grossman has a .245 career batting average and last season, with the Detroit Tigers and the Atlanta Braves, he hit just .209. His batting skills will have to improve if he wants to win over GM Chris Young.
Neither team will be overly impressive in this first game. However, with a new coaching staff, the Royals should take it.
Padres Prepare For The Mariners
The other game today finds the San Diego Padres facing the Mariners. San Diego has come closer each season to making it to the end, and this could be the year they do it.
The Padres have been making some big moves and haven’t been afraid to open the wallet. The $280M, 11-year contract for Xander Bogaerts is proof.
They also picked up veteran pitcher Cole Hamels, with his Fall Classic title and MVP status. Adding these to Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and Juan Soto should allow the Padres to put on an awesome show this season.
The Mariners were the sleepers that no one talked about last season. They finally made it to the playoffs, ending a drought almost as long as Tom Brady’s NFL career.
Since then, Seattle has continued to add more talent and depth. Now, the baseball world is taking notice. However, they still might not quite be ready to take charge of the league.
The Padres have a lot going for them as Spring Training gets underway, and should be able to walk away with a win tonight.
Mets Muster Against The Astros
There are several games on tap tomorrow, one of which finds the New York Mets meeting the reigning champions, the Houston Astros. This could be a glimpse of what’s coming later in the season.
The Mets added Justin Verlander, a guaranteed entry into the Hall of Fame, on an $86M contract for two years. He banked on the American League Cy Young Award he earned with the Astros last year, and it paid off.
The Astros decided to give up Verlander and brought in MVP José Abreu as a free agent. This puts Houston in a new position as they try to build around him.
The Mets could have an outstanding lineup this season, but will have to make a few more deals first. They thought they were going to get Carlos Correa, but he wasn’t able to pass a physical during the contract negotiations. As a result, the Mets need new power, but still haven’t found it.
That doesn’t mean the Mets won’t have a good season. But, it means they won’t start tonight. The Astros take an easy win.