The clock is ticking for MLB teams to wrap up their offseason wheeling and dealing and settle on an Opening Day roster, as the 2022 season kicks off on April 7.
With less than two weeks until the season gets underway, there are still position battles to reconcile, extensions to discuss, a still-swirling trade market and one top-tier free agent who is still searching for a new team to call home.
Ahead, we've taken a closer look at the seven biggest questions that still need answers before Opening Day arrives, and these storylines will inevitably unfold one way or another in the coming days.
Baseball is almost back!
Will Any Top Prospects Make Opening Day Rosters?
One of the biggest storylines each spring revolves around which of baseball's elite prospects will have an opportunity to win a spot on their team's Opening Day roster.
In recent years, we've seen Jonathan India, Luis Robert, Fernando Tatis Jr., Pete Alonso and Eloy Jimenez get the nod to start the year in the big leagues. And with some draft pick incentives baked into the new collective bargaining agreement that reward teams with high finishers in Rookie of the Year balloting on the Opening Day roster, we could see more highly touted up-and-comers break camp this year.
Here are the notable candidates:
OF Julio Rodriguez, SEA (No. 2 on Baseball America top-100 list)
3B Bobby Witt Jr., KC (No. 3)
OF Riley Greene, DET (No. 4)
1B Spencer Torkelson, DET (No. 5)
SS CJ Abrams, SD (No. 9)
SS Oneil Cruz, PIT (No. 14)
Baltimore Orioles catcher and No. 1 overall prospect Adley Rutschman is dealing with a triceps injury, or he would be part of that list as well.
There are several more prospects further down the list and ranked on organizational top-10 lists who are also making their case this spring, but those are the elite-level names to know.
Best guess: Witt, Greene, Torkelson and Cruz all start the season in the big leagues.
Where Will Michael Conforto Sign?
MLB Trade Rumors published its annual ranking of the top 50 MLB free agents on Nov. 8, complete with contract predictions and potential landing spots for each player.
Many of the big dominoes fell before the 99-day lockout and resulting transaction freeze, and a flurry of activity in the weeks since the lockout was lifted has whittled that list down to just one remaining player who has not yet signed:
32. OF Michael Conforto
The 29-year-old turned down a one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer from the New York Mets at the start of the offseason, and that is looking more and more like a mistake as teams have pivoted to guys like Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber, Avisail Garcia, Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario and others to fill needs at the corner outfield spots.
Just two years removed from a career-high 154 OPS+ and three years removed from a 33-homer, 92-RBI season, Conforto still has a ton of upside, but after a down year, he looked like a prime candidate to accept the one-year pillow contract in hopes of rebuilding his value.