The Opener: Hall of Fame, Twins, Angels

As Friday’s non-tender deadline enters the rear-view mirror and the offseason rolls along, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around baseball:

1. Hall of Fame Ballot Announced

The official Hall of Fame ballot for 2023 is set to be released today, and for the first time in 10 years, it won’t have Barry Bonds, Roger Clementsor Curt Schilling on it. Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez will be eligible for the first time in 2023, while Jeff Kent enters his final year of eligibility. Scott Rolen, Todd Heltonand Billy Wagner each received over 50% of the vote last year, and could be names to watch this year in addition to the newcomers. While Alex Rodríguez will enter his second year of eligibility in 2023, he’ll need a massive showing on this year’s ballot to get on the radar for Cooperstown consideration after just a 34.3% showing in his inaugural year on the ballot. Although Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling won’t be on this year’s ballot, they could still join the Hall of Fame in 2023, as the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee will consider the three of them (as well as five others) during the Winter Meetings in December.

2. Will The Twins Re-Sign Correa?

The Twins made a few major changes to their infield mix before Friday’s non-tender deadline, as they shipped Gio Urshela out in a trade with the Angels while swinging a deal to bring in Kyle Farmer from the Reds. If no further changes to the infield mix are made, Minnesota would likely start the season with Jose Miranda at third base, Jorge Polanco at second, and Luis Arraez at first, with Farmer set to hold down shortstop until Royce Lewis returns from injury. With Lewis set to return sometime next season and 2022 draftee Brooks Lee already at Double-A, the Twins could conceivably be content to hand Farmer the keys to the position, transitioning him to more of a utility role once one of the youngsters is ready to displace him. There’s been mutual interest in a Correa reunion, but with big-market teams such as the Dodgers, Cubs, and Giants rumored to be looking to land a shortstop, it’s easy to see how the Twins could lose a bidding war. Still, it seems unlikely that the acquisition of a possible stopgap at shortstop would change Minnesota’s plans much with regards to Correa. Darren Wolfson of KSTP and 1500 SKOR North chatted with Twins president/CEO Dave St. Peter and center fielder Byron Buxton (video links) about the potential for a Correa reunion at last week’s event to unveil new Twins uniforms. The Athletic’s Dan Hayes wrote earlier in the month that the Twins would likely pursue Xander Bogaerts in the event that Correa signs elsewhere.

3. What’s Next For Angels After Urshela?

On the other end of the Urshela deal, the Angels have a more stable infield mix following his acquisition. Anthony Rendon and Jared Walsh figure to get the lion’s share of starts at the corners, assuming their injury woes in 2022 don’t follow them into next season. That leaves Urshela, David Fletcherand Louis Rengifo to mix and match between second base, shortstop, and filling in at the corners. A prominent shortstop addition still remains possible, but the Angels can also turn their attention to the outfield, where they currently project to send out Jo Adell in left, Mike Trout in center, and Taylor Ward right. While such an outfield configuration would be far from a disaster, after a trade of Brandon Marsh to the Phillies, the Angels lack depth; currently, Mickey Moniak projects to be their fourth outfielder. Trout will lock up center when healthy, but adding a corner bat to provide protection against continued struggles from Adell would make sense. A lefty such as David Peralta would help the Angels balance their righty-heavy outfield mix, though speculatively speaking, Trey Mancini could be an interesting fit as a player who can play the outfield corners while also providing Walsh platoon protection at first base. Both the Urshela trade and the recent signing of Tyler Anderson have deepened the Angels’ roster while leaving the door open for further moves of notes. Deepening the outfield mix in similar fashion would be a sensible next step.

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