Apparently baseball fans are not enamored with the idea of teams using an opener. At least that's what MLB Commisioner Rob Manfred believes.
According to Jesse Rogers of ESPN, Manfred said the change employed by some teams throughout the league, "has not been a positive one.”
While the Tampa Bay Rays popularized this concept several years back, several teams, including the Cincinnati Reds now utilize the same strategy.
How many openers did the Reds use in 2023?
The Cincinnati Reds used an opener six times during the 2023 season with three different relief pitchers (Derek Law, Fernando Cruz, and Tejay Antone starting at least one game.
Fernando Cruz started two games as the opener for the Reds in 2023. The right-hander began the Reds games on August 26th against the Arizona Diamondbacks and once again on September 19th versus the Minnesota Twins.
Tejay Antone gave David Bell two stellar innings on September 4th against the Seattle Mariners. Antone struck out three and didn't allow a single hit.
Derek Law was the Reds opener on three different occasions, twice in May and once more in mid-September. In all, Law logged 3.2 innings of work as the Reds opener in 2023.
During his appearance on the Jim Day Podcast, Tejay Antone remarked at how he actually enjoyed working as the opener. Of course, Antone has experience as a starter as well.
Bullpen games, as they're known, have become commonplace in the league. Fans even saw it a few times during the MLB Postseason. Whilt it seems rather unproductive to limit a team's ablity to utilize an opener, some changes could be on the way to lessen the likelihood.