Aaron Judge Oct 4, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) rounds the bases after hitting home run number sixty-two to break the American League home run record in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Happy 2023 Opening Day to those of you who observe. The upcoming season looks to be one filled with plenty of storylines from contractual obligations, up-and-coming talent and Shohei Ohtani content.

Here’s a look at seven MLB storylines to pay attention to as we kick off a new season:

Carlos Correa craziness

Infielder Carlos Correa had been on three teams during the offseason.

Before he had returned to the Minnesota Twins, the two-time All-Star’s journey during the winter months began with a canceled introductory press conference before he was supposed to meet his new San Francisco Giants team.

A worrisome physical stopped it from happening, and similarly, an agreed-upon contract with the New York Mets had everyone wondering what had happened.

He signed with the Twins on a six-year deal. While he’s reflected on what happened, Correa still made history for one of the most bizarre free agencies in a long time.

“If I learned something this offseason, it’s that I realized that one day, I’m not going to be able to play anymore,” Correa told MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park. “That might be when I’m 40. That might be when I’m 45. You never know. You’ve just got to enjoy every single moment that you spend on the baseball field.”

Big Spenders

MLB teams put their money where their mouth is heading into the 2023 season.

Prior to the winter meetings in December, everyone knew Aaron Judge wasn’t going to be PAID. We just weren’t sure who was going to write the check.

After offers from the Giants (always the bridesmaid) and San Diego Padres, the reigning American League MVP returned home to sign a nine-year, $360 million deal. The third-largest deal in baseball history.

Trea Turner also had his fair share of suitors this offseason. And rightfully so. For those of you who were just introduced to the shortstop during the World Baseball Classic, you’ll understand it.

His 11-year, $300 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies had him reunited with his former outfielder Bryce Harper. The two-time All-Star is projected to hit over .300 this season, and was more than happy to move back to the east coast.

After spending all nine years of his career with the New York Mets, starting pitcher Jacob deGrom made his way deep in the heart of Texas on a five-year, $185 million contract with the Rangers.

There was a bit of a worry heading into spring training that he would face a setback as he felt some tightness in his left side during a bullpen session, but general manager Chris Young said there weren’t that many concerns. deGrom ended up hitting 100 mph in a bullpen session and appears ready to go.

The 34-year-old earned two Cy Young Awards and four All-Star selects across his career.

The Old York Mets

Speaking of Mets …

The team heads into the season with the top payroll in the league. ($299,983,332) That has a lot to do with the fact that the team signed Justin Verlander to a two-year, $86.6 million deal with an average annual value of $43.3 million per season. But it’s Verlander. He’s earned a Triple Crown, three Cy Young Awards, and two ERA titles.

The team also possesses powerhouse pitcher Max Scherzer.

On the offensive side of the ball, the team still impresses. With Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso beefing up a lineup that already has the likes of Mark Canha and Starling Marte, we’re looking at a very productive collection of bats.


We can’t ignore the fact that the Mets are entering the season with the injuries of Edwin Diaz and Brandon Nimmo, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that owner Steve Cohen is not shy about putting money into the team.

Shohei Ohtani *free* agency

I put asterisks around the word because, let’s face it, there’s nothing free about the man who turned the game internationally as quickly as he did.

According to Forbes, he’s already making $65 million this season. That combines his Los Angeles Angels salary ($30 million) with the rest just in endorsements.

A lot of signs point to him staying in LA, but with the Dodgers, once it comes down to it. It also doesn’t look like Angels team owner Arte Moreno will look into trading him if the team finds its way to the postseason.

The WBC champion is coming off yet another strong season where he hit .273/.356/.519 with 34 home runs and 95 RBI. In 2021, he became the first two-way player (pitcher and designated hitter) in MLB history with 10-plus home runs, 20-plus stolen bases as a hitter and 100-plus strikeouts, and 10-plus pitcher appearances as a pitcher in the same season. And he was unanimously selected as the AL MVP.

New rules, no problem

There will be three new rules implemented by the league this season. A pitch clock, defensive shift restrictions, and bigger bases.

Pitchers will have to endure a 30-second pitch timer between batters and 15 seconds between pitches in an effort to create a quicker pace of play. These rules already were tested at the Triple-A level, as well as during spring training. Despite the adjustments, it was a rather seamless transition.

There will be some violations at the beginning, of course, but they should smooth out after the first month.

The defensive shifts and the enlarged bases were brought in with hopes of bringing more excitement to the game. More web gem defensive plays, and stolen bases.

Young guns

The Arizona Diamondbacks signed a rare extension this offseason. For 22-year-old Corbin Carroll, despite just 32 MLB games, he inked an eight-year, $111 million contract.

That doesn’t mean he isn’t worth the money, however. His journey began in the Rookie League and ended in Triple-A. In that time, he boasted a .307/.425/.610 line with 111 hits, 62 RBI, and 24 home runs.


On the other side of the country, Anthony Volpe got the nod to be the Yankees starting shortstop. At the age of 21, he’ll be the team’s youngest Opening Day starter since Hall of Famer Derek Jeter in 1996.

Manager Aaron Boone said Volple plays with energy and distinctive instinct which are a couple of the boxes that were checked to ensure he got the job.

He was the 30th overall pick in the 2019 draft and is the No. 5 prospect in the organization.

And he does this:

Staying in the AL East, the Baltimore Orioles already have their 2023 Rookie of the Year picked out.

Gunnar Henderson’s athleticism speaks for itself (was also a basketball star in high school), but that’s not only why he’s the league’s No. 1 ranked prospect.

Henderson has power, speed and defense. There aren’t many aspects to his game that are lacking. Perhaps he can improve on hitting left-handed pitchers, but there’s plenty of time for him to catch up to that.

He played in 34 big-league games last season, but before that across Double and Triple-A, he slashed .297/.416/.531 with a .946 OPS.

The return of Fernando Tatís Jr.

San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatís Jr. was suspended last August after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. He’s eligible to return on April 20, and will be able to have a minor-league stint prior to doing so.

He’s told the media he’s ready to return after serving his time, and will more than likely be batting leadoff.

Padres manager Bob Melvin says Tatís is looking healthy as well. It doesn’t appear there are concerns with his shoulder and wrist. He also looks to bat leadoff, playing the outfield when he returns.

In 2021, Tatís Jr. signed a 14-year contract worth $330 million. In 2021, before his suspension, he was batting .282/.364/.611 with 42 home runs.

About Jessica Kleinschmidt

Jess is a baseball fan with Reno, Nev. roots residing in the Bay Area. She is the host of "Short and to the Point" and is also a broadcaster with the Oakland A's Radio Network. She previously worked for MLB.com and NBC Sports Bay Area.