Everything to know entering MLB Opening Day (2024)

On the eve of Major League Baseball’s Opening Day, José Ramírez and the Cleveland Guardians have an agreement in place on a five-year, $124 million extension, sources told The Athletic’s Zack Meisel and Ken Rosenthal. Other news: Tylor Megill will get the Opening Day start for the Mets.

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The Athletic MLB Staff

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Rachel G. Bowers

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Summary

On the eve of Major League Baseball’s Opening Day, José Ramírez and the Cleveland Guardians have an agreement in place on a five-year, $124 million extension, sources told The Athletic’s Zack Meisel and Ken Rosenthal.

Other news: Tylor Megill will get the Opening Day start for the Mets. The Mets will decide Thursday if Max Scherzer (hamstring) will start Friday. Yankees-Red Sox and Mariners-Twins have been postponed to Friday due to inclement weather. MLB will allow teams to use PitchCom. Bobby Witt Jr. made the Royals Opening Day roster. The Tigers acquired OF Austin Meadows from the Rays. Julio Rodríguez made the Mariners Opening Day roster.

The Athletic will bring you news, analysis, updates and more throughout the week as teams solidify rosters, give injury updates and more. Follow along.

Required reading

  • Opening Day starters | Guide to the season
  • Thursday’s schedule | Friday’s schedule
  • Ken Rosenthal's 10 MLB storylines to watch
  • The Athletic MLB staff’s 2022 season predictions
  • Hitter Tiers | The Aces Project
  • Preseason Power Rankings

(Photo of José Ramírez: Jay Biggerstaff / USA Today)

April 6, 2022 at 11:18 PM EDTDavid O'Brien·Senior Writer, Braves

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Braves first baseman Matt Olson, shaped by bonds forged in Atlanta, comes home

NORTH PORT, Fla. — Since he was only 4, Matt Olson doesn’t remember the moment he blew the minds of his older brother, Zack, and his brother’s friends. Matt has heard the story many times from different perspectives.

“I’m a few years older, so I had a leg up in terms of development,” Zack Olson said from London, England, where the Harvard graduate and former college pitcher works in commercial real estate. “But from age 2 or 3, Matt was playing sports with us. We’re out in the front yard playing Wiffle Ball. He was 3 or 4 years old and, no joke, he’s hitting Wiffle Balls over the house.”

The Olsons lived in a two-story house in Lilburn, a suburb north of Atlanta. Their parents still live there.

“I was wondering if he might tell you that story,” said Scott Olson, their dad and baseball coach until the Olson boys reached high school. “I happened to be home the first time it happened. Matt was probably 4, and Zack and his buddies were gracious enough to let Matt play with them.

“I’m in the kitchen and all of a sudden the door flies open and I’ve got three or four 7-year-olds in my face going, ‘Mr. Olson! Mr. Olson! Matt just hit it over the house!'”

(Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn / Minnesota Twins / Getty Images)

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April 6, 2022 at 10:30 PM EDTSam Blum

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Angels season preview 2022: The ‘no-plan plan’ for rotation leaders Shohei Ohtani, Noah Syndergaard and Michael Lorenzen

Noah Syndergaard threw two innings in 2021. Michael Lorenzen threw 29. When Shohei Ohtani took the mound last year for the first time, he did so having recorded just five outs the year prior.

The three have something in common. And no, that is not a reference to their half-Hulk, half-human body frames.

The Angels’ success this year hinges on the availability of Syndergaard, Lorenzen — the only two offseason rotation additions — and Ohtani among a starting group that, in recent seasons, has continually disappointed next to a star-studded lineup.

Ohtani was good to go all out last year. His success serves as proof of the concept that Syndergaard and Lorenzen can do the same this year.

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April 6, 2022 at 9:54 PM EDTWill Sammon·Staff Writer, Mets

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Brewers’ Christian Yelich knows there are higher expectations: ‘There’s no shying away from it’

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PHOENIX — There’s a line more than a dozen rows deep, starting at the cutout to the Brewers’ dugout. That’s where Christian Yelich is signing autographs. It’s the day before the start of spring training games. Some are more prepared than others for the impromptu event. They’re using baseballs. Jerseys. Hats. Anything that has room for 22. “Oh, wow, a softball,” Yelich says just before scribbling his name. Then, the picture requests. One minute goes by. Another. A few more. He keeps going. Keeps greeting. Keeps signing. Keeps smiling.

It’s Year 5 for the Brewers and Yelich. The first two years, amazing. Yelich was the MVP in 2018 and if not for a broken kneecap after fouling a ball off himself in September 2019, he might’ve won the award again. The last two years, so different. Pandemic. Short season. Back issues. Mostly pedestrian numbers. All the while, the Brewers still managed to twice make the playoffs and last year even won their division. And that’s kind of the dichotomy. Around this team, he’s still the star.

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April 6, 2022 at 9:14 PM EDTKaitlyn McGrath·Staff Writer, Blue Jays

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Blue Jays pitchers on their signature pitch: José Berríos’ slurve, Kevin Gausman’s splitter, Alek Manoah’s slider and more

DUNEDIN, Fla. — If there is one thing pitchers likes to talk about, it’s pitching.

Specifically, a pitcher is usually up for answering questions about his own pitches, whether it’s a teammate asking him about the grip he’s using or a curious reporter interested in hearing the backstory of how the pitch came to be.

Over the course of spring training, Blue Jays pitchers Kevin Gausman (splitter), José Berríos (slurve), Alek Manoah (slider), Jordan Romano (four-seam fastball), Ross Stripling (curveball) and Trevor Richards (changeup) took the time to talk to The Athletic about the signature pitch in their arsenal.

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April 6, 2022 at 8:32 PM EDTLevi Weaver·Staff Writer, Rangers

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Rangers season preview 2022: 5 exciting storylines to watch for

President of baseball operations Jon Daniels and general manager Chris Young have said on multiple occasions that they don’t expect to complete the overhaul in one offseason, that the transformation from a 102-loss team to a legitimate World Series contender would take years. But looking at those lists, they sure have done a lot of heavy lifting already. This year’s Opening Day lineup will — barring some surprise — have just one person in common with last year’s — and even he has since switched it up from Nate to Nathaniel.

There are still plot holes in this Cinderella story, to be sure — Jaq and Gus and the boys are still stitching furiously in hopes of getting that ball gown done very soon, but in the meantime, let’s take a look at five storylines that should be central to the 2022 Texas Rangers.

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The Athletic MLB Staff

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Twins working on deal to acquire Chris Paddack from Padres: Sources

The Minnesota Twins are working on a deal to acquire Chris Paddack from the Padres, sources tell The Athletic.

Paddack had a 5.07 ERA in 108.1 innings pitched for San Diego in 2021, pitching 108.1 innings.

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The Athletic MLB Staff

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From outsiders to architects of the Red Sox golden age: 20 years in, John Henry’s ownership leaves lasting legacy

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The Red Sox have experienced more success in the past two decades than in the previous century, and the franchise’s turning point is unmistakable: the arrival of a new ownership group, led by John Henry, that officially took over 20 years ago this spring training. In business and on the field, the organization has become a model franchise, imperfect but prosperous, with much of its newfound success rooted in the introduction of a collaborative, open-minded culture that was ahead of its time — and has since spread throughout baseball as young executives trained in the system have moved on to lead teams around the league.

In a series of wide-ranging interviews with Red Sox executives past and present, The Athletic explored an organizational makeover that seemed momentarily doomed but ultimately turned the Red Sox into a baseball powerhouse — while transforming its ownership team, now called Fenway Sports Group, into an international force of influence and power.

Now, as Henry’s 21st Opening Day as the team’s principal owner nears, his legacy in Boston sports and in baseball is both secure and growing, one that can be seen in their offices and in those around the league. “If I do have a legacy, it’s going to be this group of talented individuals and what they have accomplished and will continue to build with those to come after I’m gone,” Henry said.

— Jen McCaffrey and Chad Jennings

(Photo of John Henry at the 2013 victory parade: Jared Wickerham / Getty Images)

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Game 1 of Mets-Nationals delayed due to weather

The Mets and Nationals will open their season three hours later on Thursday (7:05 p.m. ET) due to forecasted inclement weather.

April 6, 2022 at 6:30 PM EDTEno Sarris·Senior Writer, MLB

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Sarris: 4 pitchers due for bounce-back seasons in 2022

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About 150 plate appearances into a given season, we can start to trust a pitcher’s demonstrated strikeout rate. That’s about the time their groundball rate becomes meaningful as well. Walk rate takes a little longer, maybe about halfway through the season. Left-on-base rate, which measures how often runners on base score? It never becomes meaningful within a season. Home run rate? Derek Carty found it takes almost three seasons before you can trust a pitcher’s home run rate. A player’s age and career rates are hugely important. By focusing on statistics that become meaningful quicker and then using the larger career sample to consider the rest, it should be possible to find the pitchers on the cusp of better days.

(Photo of Yu Darvish: Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

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April 6, 2022 at 5:53 PM EDTFabian Ardaya·Staff Writer, Dodgers

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Dodgers season preview 2022: World Series or bust? ‘I’m putting it in the universe’

“We are winning the World Series this year,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said in an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show” last month, explaining clearly where his uber-talented lineup had placed the organization’s expectations. “Put it on record.

“I’m putting it out there. I’m putting it in the universe.”

Roberts doubled down later that afternoon when pressed on his proclamation. He didn’t hesitate, saying he’d be “crazy not to” peg his club as the one to lift the piece of metal come October.

It’s the standard Roberts has set. And it’s the bar the Dodgers will have to clear this summer. They boast the most accomplished lineup in the majors, one bolstered by the acquisition of Freddie Freeman this spring. They’ve won as many games over the past five seasons as any team. FanGraphs forecasts the Dodgers as a near-certainty to make the postseason (95.2 percent) and deems them the odds-on favorite to win this year’s World Series (16.2 percent).

The Dodgers are embracing it.

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April 6, 2022 at 5:15 PM EDTDennis Lin·Senior Writer, Padres

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Padres season preview 2022: 5 questions that could define the season for San Diego

The Padres still share a division with the Dodgers and the Giants, who have retained financial flexibility after a shocking, 107-win season. Almost no one outside the Padres organization sees San Diego pulling off a similar upset this summer. Some on the inside acknowledge a wild-card berth is the most realistic goal. The spotlight, which shone so brightly to begin 2021, has apparently moved on.

Can the Padres reclaim it in 2022? Will they finally overachieve across a full season for the first time in more than a decade? The games will provide the answers, of course. Until then, here are five other questions that could define this year.

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April 6, 2022 at 4:42 PM EDTTim Britton·Staff Writer, Mets

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Mets roster move

The Mets signed RHP John Curtiss to a major-league deal Wednesday. Curtiss had Tommy John surgery last summer and is out for the season. Mets designated Travis Blankenhorn for assignment, then put Curtiss on the 60-day IL, then selected Travis Jankowski to the roster.

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April 6, 2022 at 4:40 PM EDTAaron Gleeman·Staff Writer, Twins

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Twins' Byron Buxton on Carlos Correa and the weather in Minnesota

via Aaron Gleeman:

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April 6, 2022 at 4:35 PM EDTKatie Woo·Staff Writer, Cardinals

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Yadi and Pujols reunited

via Katie Woo:

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The Athletic MLB Staff

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MLB Preseason Power Rankings: The Dodgers reign, the Blue Jays impress and the Giants perplex

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When I was a kid, I went to my high school in the middle of July for some character-building something-or-another. It was the weirdest sensation, walking into this building where just a few months ago, I had spent eight hours a day learning about history and trying to impress girls with my near-infinite knowledge of baseball card statistics. But now it was unsettling and foreign; dusty, dark and weird-looking. It was hot — there was no point running the air conditioning when there were no classes. Almost everything was in its right place, but the life had gone out of it.

It feels a bit like that summer right now as I sit down to write the intro to these power rankings. We’ve had some spring training to watch, but there haven’t been any games that mattered since last October. In the meantime, we went through a whole lockout. (Grant and I were denied in our bid to write power rankings for which team was having the best lockout.)

Anyway, we’re here now. I’m Levi Weaver, handling the American League breakdowns, and I’d like to welcome Grant Brisbee back to the stage for the National League entries. We know you missed us. Our theme for these preseason rankings is “predictions,” and we promise to take that very seriously. As always, please keep your hands inside the car at all times, tip your waiters, and remember that these rankings were voted on by all our writers, not just the two of us. — Levi Weaver

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April 6, 2022 at 3:49 PM EDTDavid O'Brien·Senior Writer, Braves

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Braves 28-man roster

Barring late trade or free-agent acquisitions:

Starting rotation (6): LH Max Fried, RH Charlie Morton, RH Ian Anderson, RH Kyle Wright, RH Huascar Ynoa, LH Tucker Davidson

Bullpen (9): RH Kenley Jansen (closer), LH Tyler Matzek, RH Collin McHugh, LH A.J. Minter, LH Will Smith, RH Tyler Thornburg, RH Darren O’Day, LH Sean Newcomb, RH Spencer Strider

Catchers (3): Travis d’Arnaud, Manny Piña, William Contreras

Infielders (5): Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, Dansby Swanson, Orlando Arcia

Outfielders (5): Eddie Rosario, Adam Duvall, Marcell Ozuna, Alex Dickerson, Guillermo Heredia

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April 6, 2022 at 3:42 PM EDTTim Britton·Staff Writer, Mets

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Mets' Tylor Megill will start Opening Day

Tylor Megill will get the Opening Day start for the Mets. The team will decide Thursday on whether Max Scherzer can start Friday. He has been day to day with right hamstring soreness.

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April 6, 2022 at 3:39 PM EDTTim Britton·Staff Writer, Mets

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How Billy Eppler and the Mets thrived in a wild offseason: ‘You’re going to hit the ground sprinting’

Elizabeth Benn was not planning on actually taking the job. Although intrigued by the opportunity to interview for a position in the Mets’ front office, Benn knew she was happy with her role in the commissioner’s office — one where she got to learn about so many different aspects of the sport she loves, one that fostered the kind of professional development she seeks.

But sometime during that interview with Billy Eppler, maybe around the time the two were debating which skills to prioritize when evaluating an outfielder’s defensive potential, Benn realized something strange.

“It was really fun,” she said. “I didn’t expect an interview for a position like this with a GM to be fun, but I had a great time on it.”

Over the course of that interview, Eppler won over Benn. She had prepared a checklist of what she loved about her current job and everything that a different one would have to provide to persuade her to leave. But her first glimpse of the environment Eppler was trying to create with the Mets — the laidback, fun, open environment he had created in that interview — appealed to her even more than she had expected.

“He checked,” she said, “absolutely every single box that I had.”

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Enjoy Willson Contreras while he’s still at Wrigley Field, Cubs fans

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When he came to work this spring, Contreras was constantly reminded of the ghosts of Cubs teams past.

“Yeah, I mean, every day I come here,” he said. “Jon Lester used to be there. John Lackey used to be on the side of Lester. Travis Wood would be there. Kyle Hendricks is still in the same spot. (Ben) Zobrist was here. There are a lot of memories around this clubhouse that I still think of. I think of the way they went through their business and how it made me learn a little bit more.”

It’s not as if Contreras wasn’t prepared. After the Cubs bade farewell to Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javy Báez and Craig Kimbrel in a deadline culling, the team had to adjust on the fly.

“It was completely different,” Contreras said. “It was hard to see those lockers empty. Even though I know that we have a lot of good players that came to the team, when you are used to those guys playing every single day for five years, seeing them gone was just kind of tough.”

(Photo: Christian Petersen / Getty Images)

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Everything to know entering MLB Opening Day (2024)

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