Free Agency will continue to heat up, as teams prepare for Spring Training starting on February 13th, 2024.
Free Agency will continue to heat up, as teams prepare for Spring Training starting on February 13th, 2024.
Wesley Johnson

MLB free agency rankings post Ohtani signing

 

MLB free agency is up and running, and Shohei Ohtani inking the biggest deal in baseball history will act as a domino for other moves around the league. Before Ohtani, other big names were signed such as Aaron Nola, Sonny Gray, and Eduardo Rodriquez. Pitching has flown off the shelves, while the position player market has remained mostly untapped. There is an abundance of talent still available, so let this serve as a guide to the rest of free agency.

 

1. Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Yamamoto is the latest Japanese star to be posted in MLB free agency. He will attempt to replicate the success Ohtani has had overseas. Much like Ohtani, he has built an impressive resume in Japan to attract MLB teams. Yamamoto has won the last three pitcher-of-the-year awards in Japan, struck out 50% batters more than the league average, and has an impressive three-pitch arsenal. He’s only 25 years old, making him a hot commodity this offseason. His window to be signed expires on January 4th, so don’t expect the right-handed pitcher to be on the market for long. 

 

2. Cody Bellinger

Cody Bellinger hits free agency at age twenty-eight after a roller-coaster first seven years in the MLB. He burst onto the scene in 2017, winning National League Rookie of the Year, and further cemented his star power in 2019, winning MVP. However, Bellinger struggled in years five and six, finishing those seasons as a below league average hitting, including an abysmal 44 OPS+ in 2021. He rebounded in 2023, hitting .307 with 27 home runs. He has always possessed above-average defense and will be worth every penny if he can continue his 2023 production. 

3. Blake Snell

Blake Snell is one of few players to claim a Cy Young award in both the American League and National League. He won his second Cy Young last season, posting a 2.25 ERA in 32 starts. Snell is a modern 3 true outcome pitcher, walking 5 batters and striking out nearly 12 per 9 innings.  Expect Snell to cash in with a sizable contract for 4-6 years. 

 

4. Josh Hader

This five-time all-star has been one of the most dominant closers in the last ten years. While he now longer puts up his astounding 48% strikeout rate he did in 2019, he still has some of the best strikeout stuff in the league. Hader recovered well from a rocky 2022 and set himself up to get a big deal, especially given the hesitancy to spend money on relievers across the league. 

 

5. Matt Chapman

Matt Chapman plays elite defense at third base. His bat has raised question marks about his viability to be a star. He has posted above-league-average hitting in every year of his career, but not by very much. In April of 2023, Chapman hit .384 with a 1.152 OPS. He regressed to his career norm level, but periodic months like that provide hope that Chapman can be an all-around player in the future.

 

6. Jordan Montgomery

Jordan Montgomery showed his skill in the 2023 postseason, going 3-1 and being a key piece in the Rangers championship. Montgomery was dealt from St. Louis at the trade deadline, and if he signs elsewhere, it will be his fourth team in three years. Montgomery doesn’t light up the radar gun but limits walks and gets groundouts. His consistency stacks up with some of the stars in the league. 

 

7. Marcus Stroman

Stroman was dominant in the first half of 2023, posting a National League-leading ERA through May. Injuries plagued Stroman’s season for the second straight year, but his numbers when healthy prove that the thirty-three-year-old still has production left in the tank.

 

8. Rhys Hoskins

Hoskins tore his ACL in spring training, completely erasing his season a year before free agency. He hit twenty-five or more home runs in every full season since 2019. Hoskins is a middle-of-the-order bat if he can replicate the power he possessed before his injury. 

 

9. Shota Imanaga

Imanaga started the championship of the World Baseball Classic and gave up 1 run in 2 innings against a star-studded USA team. Imanaga, like Yamamoto, comes from the NBL in Japan. Imanaga wasn’t prolific in 2023 but has been dominant in past seasons. Imanaga will be a solid veteran south-paw for a team looking to bolster the end of their rotation. 

 

10. Lucas Giolito

Once dominant, Lucas Giolito found himself on the other end of the stick at the end of 2023, posting a 6.96 ERA in his last 12 starts. It wasn’t all his fault, however; Giolito was traded at the deadline to Los Angeles and then dumped on waivers where he found himself in Cleveland. Teams hope that a constant home will help Giolito return to his 2019-2021 form, in which he received Cy Young votes.

 

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About the Contributor
Wesley Johnson, Journalist
Grade: Senior Activities: Baseball Hobbies: Spreadsheeting, Watching Tennis Car Name: Xiomara Favorite Sports Team: Minnesota Twins