Big Spenders and World Season Dreamers: Baseball Season is Just Around the Corner

Big Spenders and World Season Dreamers: Baseball Season is Just Around the Corner

Shohei Ohtani is a Dodger. Juan Soto is a Yankee. And the new season is nearly upon us.

So how did we get here?

The Major League Baseball offseason lacked the free agent frenzy of past years, and, in fact, some of the biggest free agents are still out there — waiting to put pen to paper and money in the bank.

Yet, some teams stepped up and went all in.

The free-spending franchises are doing what they do best to get back to the biggest stage. They’re dropping whatever it takes — in cash or prospects — to make it happen.

There’s just the small matter of a 162-game season standing between them and a chance at one more championship.

The Los Angeles Dodgers signed dual threat superstar Ohtani to a 10-year, $700 million contract. Ohtani, owner of a career 3.01 earned run average, won’t pitch this season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. He’ll swing the bat, though, and the Dodgers are hopeful that he can replicate or exceed the 44 home runs he swatted last year for the neighboring Anaheim Angels.

Meanwhile, the New York Yankees, who finished a disappointing fourth in the American League East last year, traded a van-full of highly regarded prospects to San Diego for the rights to write Soto’s name into their lineup. In what was otherwise a disappointing 2023 season for the Padres, Soto hit 35 home runs and drove in 109 runs, both career highs. 

In between L.A. and New York, since titles aren’t (usually) won with checkbooks, 28 other teams are getting ready to take the field and have their say, too.

As we enter the final weeks of Spring Training and prepare for Opening Day, here are some of the major storylines to watch …

Are the Orioles for Real?

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Baltimore Orioles (@orioles)

In 2023, the Baltimore Orioles won the American League East for only the second time since the Clinton administration. 

Just as surprising, the Yankees and Red Sox finished at the bottom.

Over the winter, the Orioles bolstered their starting rotation by trading for ace Corbin Burnes and are poised to add baseball’s top prospect, Jackson Holliday, to a lineup that already includes reigning American League Rookie of the Year Gunnar Henderson and star catcher Adley Rutschman

The Orioles are only getting better, but they’ll still face a tall task to hold off the rest of the division.

Can the Dodgers Buy a Title?

In addition to Ohtani, hands-down the biggest off-season splash, the Dodgers also signed Japanese pitching sensation Yoshinobu Yamamoto and traded for Tyler Glasnow who slots at the top of an imposing starting rotation.

With a lineup that also includes all-stars Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, they will be the favorites to repeat in the National League West. But don’t count out the Arizona Diamondbacks, who finished behind the Dodgers last season but beat them on their way to a National League Championship.

More Star Players Wearing New Colors (and Some Who Still Might Be)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by cubs (@cubs)

While two of the off-season’s top free agents, Aaron Nola (Phillies) and Cody Bellinger (Cubs), opted to stay with their previous teams, many others signed with new clubs.

Matt Chapman went from Toronto to San Francisco. Josh Hader went from San Diego to Houston. Sonny Gray swapped Twins blue for Cardinals red. And right-hander Lucas Giolito, who played for the White Sox, Angels and Guardians in 2023, signed a 2-year, $38.5 million deal with the Red Sox — but now may miss the entire season with an elbow injury.

Meanwhile, with Opening Day fast approaching, a handful of top free agents remain unsigned, including starter Jordan Montgomery, and designated hitter J.D. Martinez.

Who Are the Rookies to Watch This Season?

Jackson Holliday, son of former MLB All Star Matt Holliday, is the first name on the list. Jackson, who turned 20 in December, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 draft and batted a combined .323 as he progressed across four levels of Minor League Baseball in 2023. He has a shot to be the Orioles starting second baseman this year.

Other future stars to watch include right-hander Paul Skenes (Pittsburgh), outfielder Jackson Chourio (Milwaukee), third baseman Noelvi Marte (Cincinnati) and outfielder Wyatt Langford (Texas). 

Not all will break camp with the big club this spring, but all have a chance to contribute on the field this year. They’re headlining the next class of superstars that baseball fans will get to watch for years to come.

And, for now, none of them play for the Dodgers or Yankees.

Don’t have DIRECTV? Let’s change that!

The content is featured on is editorial content brought to you by DIRECTV. While some of the programming discussed may now or in the future be available affiliates distribution services, the companies and persons discussed and depicted, and the authors and publishers of licensed content, are not necessarily associated with and do not necessarily endorse DIRECTV. When you click on ads on this site you may be taken to DIRECTV marketing pages that display advertising content. Content sponsored or co-created by programmers is identified as "Sponsored Content" or "Promoted Content."