MLB Storylines to Watch in 2023

With MLB spring training set to open in a few weeks, significant storylines surrounding several teams have emerged. These storylines might make fans feel like this season is as unpredictable as casino games are. 

After all, much of the success in baseball is due to luck. With that in mind, experts will watch five major MLB storylines in 2023.

Minnesota Twins

The Carlos Correa saga ended with the shortstop returning to the Twins on a six-year, $200 million contract. The deal ended months of speculation. In particular, Correa had massive contracts with the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets fall through due to health concerns.

Those health concerns make Carlos Correa and the Minnesota Twins a storyline to watch. However, the specific issue that scared off the Giants and Mets relates to Correa’s right ankle. The Twins are hoping it will hold up for the next six years.

It will be interesting to see if Correa can play an entire season and maintain the elite level he’s shown in the past. 2022 was Correa’s age-27 season, but it wasn’t one of his best. He played in 136 games, hitting 22 homers and driving in 64 runs. While his numbers were down from 2021, the biggest concern will be his ability to remain consistent throughout the 2023 season and beyond.

New York Yankees

The Yankees remain the dominant force in the American League East. However, the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Rays will give the Yanks a run for their money. Similarly, the Boston Red Sox and the upstart Baltimore Orioles will look to climb back into the AL East playoff picture.

However, the Yankees’ biggest storyline will be Aaron Judge. The reigning AL MVP broke Roger Maris’ AL home run record with 62 dingers. His performance prompted the Yankees to give Judge a nine-year, $360 million deal to keep him in the Bronx. Only time will tell if Judge can live up to his $40 million-a-year price tag.

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels have two of baseball’s best players: Mike Trout and two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani. Trout had a resurgent second half in 2022 after injuries over the last couple of seasons plagued him. But the Angels’ biggest storyline isn’t Trout’s health. Instead, it’s Ohtani’s new contract.

Ohtani was set to become a free agent after the 2022 season. However, the Angels and Ohtani agreed on a one-year, $30 million deal for 2023. Unfortunately, this deal only kicks the can down the road for one more year, as the Angels will need to prove they can compete for Ohtani to stay in Los Angeles. Otherwise, big spenders like the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Dodgers and Red Sox will be knocking on Ohtani’s door.

A good ballpark figure for Ohtani’s new deal is the same as Trout’s $40 million-a-year contract. So the Angels may have no choice but to pay up.

San Diego Padres

Another significant contract decision involves San Diego Padres’ star, Manny Machado. Machado inked a 10-year, $300 million contract before the 2019 season. However, the contract includes an opt-out clause following 2023.

This situation has the padres in a quandary: what do they do if Machado opts out? The Padres have Fernando Tatis, Jr. signed for another 12 years and slugger Juan Soto under team control until the end of the 2024 season.

It will be challenging for the Padres to replace Machado. However, his 32 home runs and .298 batting average garnered him second place in last year’s NL MVP voting. So, for now, the only thing the Padres can do is hold their breath and hope for the best.

Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles currently have a six-year playoff drought. However, after losing 100 games in 2018, 2019, and 2021, the Orioles surprised the baseball world by going 83-79 in the stacked AL East. This unexpected turnaround has prompted the Orioles general manager Mike Elias to declare the team’s rebuild over.

The Orioles have a challenging task ahead in the AL East. But grabbing a Wild Card spot may not be out of the question. So 2023 could be the year the Orioles make it back to playing October baseball.