Top Free Agents at Every Position MLB Teams Should Eye for the 2024 Season
The free agency market this winter is hot! Ranging from competitive contracts to massive player competencies, this off-season is filled with suspense. While the commotion is constantly afoot, it is inevitable to draw conclusions on where potential free agents will land, both team-wise and position-wise. Be it Blake Snell or the soon-to-be free agent, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the big league teams are hungry for some flashy talent.
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It is the dominant notion that 2023 will be Shohei Ohtani‘s winter. But several other free agents, depending on where they sign, can significantly impact the 2024 MLB season and beyond. The months leading up to spring training will see competition among baseball’s contenders like never before due to a limited pool of available hitters. With that, it’s time to look at who the latest new home-seekers are.
Star Players Looking for a New Home This Free Agency: From Shohei Ohtani to Cody Bellinger to Blake Snell
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For Shohei Ohtani, more than anything after six unsuccessful seasons in Anaheim, he wants a chance to win. Does he want to sign with a team that is already a contender or one where his addition makes the team’s roster exceptional? Not considering the size of the deal for a minute, the structure of Ohtani’s next contract might be unlike anything one has ever seen. His recent elbow surgery, which will prevent the two-way sensation from pitching until 2024, raises the possibility that Shotime would take a look at a shorter-term deal where he would just hit for a team until 2025 or shortly after.
Switching gears for a minute, Cody Bellinger reinvented himself as a hitter in his first season after leaving the Dodgers. He gave up peak exit velocity in exchange for noticeably higher contact rates and most startling of all, an unexpected newfound capacity to crush left-handed pitching. It’s hard not to revert to the incredible power stroke that won him an NL MVP award in 2019 having produced 47 home runs. Moreover, Bellinger hit a career-high .307 with a career-low 15.7% strikeout rate. All the while he maintained a unique combination of plus defense at both first base and center field. Given that Bellinger is only 28 years old, there should be no shortage of suitors for this Phoenix-like player.
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Blake Snell, one of the most desirable players available as a free agent, has carved out a path to reach this thrilling point in his career. Had he not inked a $50 million contract extension five years prior, following his incredible 2018 campaign – the year Snell took home the AL Cy Young Award—he would have entered free agency sooner.
Well worth the wait, the ace is currently in line for a much bigger payout. The left-hander, whose superior skills and dominance streaks are almost unrivaled in the league also has a patchy injury history and erratic command. Notwithstanding all of that, Snell has shown himself to be a good choice. If a team wants to significantly strengthen its rotation in 2024, this 30-year-old could do the job.
Apart from these folks, there are Jordan Montgomery, Sonny Gray, Matt Chapman, Josh Hader, and Clayton Kershaw among others who are on the list of the most sought-after.
A Look at Their Positions: A Perfect Playing Nine With Impactful Rotation Available
With a vast free agent market open right now, making the best pick while keeping in mind the positions is key. This comes with two points to factor in. What’s the track record of these players in their set positions? And how desperately do teams need to fill in that position? Well, the list is out and teams can cast their vote accordingly.
Shopping season is open!
What is your team's biggest need? pic.twitter.com/36zWDsTJ3v
— MLB (@MLB) November 20, 2023
- The top free-agent catchers are Mitch Garver of the Texas Rangers and Gary Sanchez of the San Diego Padres
- For the DH and First Baseman position, Shohei Ohtani tops the list. Followed by J.D. Martinez of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Rhys Hoskins of the Philadelphia Phillies, and Josh Bell of the Miami Marlins, who by the way is a $16.5 million optioned player
- Relievers including Josh Hader and Aroldis Chapman could find themselves in the position
- The 2nd baseman position could fit Whit Merrifield: Toronto Blue Jays, and Adam Frazier: Baltimore Orioles
- The 3rd basemen could accommodate Matt Chapman, Blue Jays, and Dodgers’ Max Muncy
- As a shortstop, Tim Anderson from the Chicago White Sox, who is a $14 million club option, and Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants could be good fits
- In Outfielding, Cody Bellinger perhaps would be the top pick
- Moving to starting pitchers, Blake Snell, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Sonny Gray from the Minnesota Twins could be seen as the most in-demand
Teams That Can Utilize This Free Agency for the Better Upcoming Season
The Giants are trying to make a big impression this offseason. The team should have the resources to add one of the best bats available because they are in desperate need of one. Cody Bellinger could therefore come to their rescue. Then, the Yankees are flush with cash and in desperate need of starting pitching assistance. Yamamoto might just join their schedule. As for the two-way phenom, any team would benefit from having him.
Speaking of Snell, he gained pitching experience with the Tampa Bay Rays. So the Red Sox, who are another team in desperate need of rotation support, could use his help. That said, the Giants won’t think twice about adding Chapman to the lineup at third base. This move would give San Francisco a nice left-right combination. The Blue Jays are hoping to bring in a third baseman, a starting pitcher, and a corner outfielder.
What Lies Ahead: Likely Destinations for Each Free Agent
Starting with Shohei Ohtani, it is likely that he might land with the Dodgers or the Giants according to mlb.com. The LA team needs some Ohtani-like prowess on the mound and possibly he’d be a good fit, even if he doesn’t return to pitching until 2025. Speculative San Francisco might also bag the premium pitcher and hitter.
Due to the extremely narrow margin, conjecture voters have Snell signing with the Cardinals, who overtook the Dodgers by a mere vote. Yoshinoby Yamamoto could land in the Bronx or with the Mets. While that would come with major financial implications, it would be a tough call.
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Cody Bellinger is highly likely to join the Bronx and continue his father’s legacy as a Pinstriper. Though there have been talks of him getting re-signed by the Cubs, until Bellinger puts pen to paper, it’s all speculation.
On the other hand, many strongly believe that Sonny Gray must stay with the Twins. That would be continuing the trend of free-agent starters staying with their teams. Finally, there’s Matt Chapman who could serve the needs of the thirsty 3rd base with the New York Yankees.
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In the thick of the suspenseful off-season, one can’t help but wait patiently to see 2024 unfurl.
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