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Top 35 MLB 2023-2024 Free Agents

Updated 1/26: Top 2024 Free Agents

When it comes to the top free agents for the 2023 – 2024 season, it’s Shohei Ohtani in a tier all by himself. Ohtani will be the biggest story of the offseason and will fetch the largest free-agent contract in MLB history.

After Ohtani, the 2023-2024 free agent class is weaker from top to bottom than last season’s, especially when it comes to hitters. There are a few impact bats available, but most of the top talent available are pitchers.

Let’s take a closer look at the list of the top 35 free agents available after this season.

Top 35 Free Agents

 

1. Shohei Ohtani
Age: 29
2023 WAR: 8.6; PLV: 5.14

2023 season statistics:
.304/.412/.654
44 home runs, 95 RBI, and 20 steals

132 IP/10-5/3.14 ERA/1.06 WHIP/167 strikeouts
WAR: 10.0; PLV: 5.11

The most obvious choice on this list and perhaps the biggest free agent prize of all-time, Ohtani just turned 29 in July and will be in the prime of his career as he enters free agency.

He will also be coming off the best year of his thus-far historic career and another MVP season. As of August 13th, Ohtani is leading the AL in home runs (41), and walks (74) and all of baseball in triples (7), slugging % (.661), OPS (1.068), and total bases (286). On the mound, Ohtani is giving up the fewest hits per 9 innings (5.9) of any MLB pitcher and is 9-5 with a 3.32 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 160 strikeouts in 124.2 IP.

And despite all of this, Ohtani still seems to be underrated at times. He is doing things no one has ever done before and the lucky team that signs him will be getting two All-Star players in one signing.

Update 12/10: Well, Ohtaniwatch is officially over and, no, he is not on a flight to Toronto. The Japanese superstar shook the baseball world to its core on December 9th, signing a 10-year, $700-million deal with the Dodgers. Ohtani’s deal becomes the largest in sports history and he hypothetically won’t even need to move. Ohtani joins a powerful lineup that already includes Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. It also increases Ohtani’s off-the-field earning power due the Dodgers’ rich history, large television market, and winning tradition.

2. Julio Urías
Age: 26
2023 WAR: 1.1;
PLV: 5.19

2023 season statistics:
117.1 IP/11-8/4.60 ERA/1.16 WHIP/117 strikeouts
WAR: 0.7; PLV: 5.17

It’s been an up-and-down season for Urías as he missed all of June due to a hamstring injury and then struggled in July. He’s seemed to turn it around as of late and could be looking at a strong finish to the season with two wins and no runs surrendered during his first two starts of August. Urías currently sits with a record of 9-6 and a 4.39 ERA and 1.16 WHIP on the season.

Despite the 2023 struggles, he will be pursued aggressively on the free agent market due to (1): his agehe is younger than the other top pitchers on the market and (2): the success that he had in the 2021 and 2022 seasons (a combined 37-10 record and 2.47 ERA). Urías also possesses one of the best curveballs in baseball. He would be a nice consolation prize for teams that miss out on Ohtani.

3. Blake Snell
Age: 30
2023 WAR: 3.5; PLV: 4.99

2023 season statistics:
180 IP/14-9/2.25 ERA/1.19 WHIP/234 strikeouts
WAR: 6.0; PLV: 5.06

Snell was elite in 2018 with the Rays when won the AL Cy Young Award that year at age 25 and went 21 -5 with a microscopic 1.89 ERA. Since that time he hasn’t touched the same level of success and even had two seasons where his ERA ended up north of 4.00.

However, Snell seems to have re-discovered some of that Tampa Bay magic this season as he’s fifth in the league with 164 strikeouts and has lowered his ERA to 2.61, which leads all of baseball. In an odd contrast to his league-leading ERA, he’s also allowed the most walks in all of baseball with 72. Some luck may also be on his side as his FIP is 3.67. Despite the walks and the inconsistency throughout his career, Snell would be a welcome addition to any pitching staff.

4. Aaron Nola
Age: 30
2023 WAR: 1.1;
PLV: 5.15

2023 season statistics:
193.2 IP/12-9/4.46 ERA/1.15 WHIP/202 strikeouts
WAR: 2.1; PLV: 5.15

Nola finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting last season, after racking up 235 strikeouts in 205 innings pitched, but he has scuffled to a 4.49 ERA this season. He’s also allowed 26 home runs this season, which currently is the most in the NL. Despite these struggles, he has two other seasons of 200+ innings pitched, including his All-Star season in 2018 when he went 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA. While Nola is not quite the budding ace we saw in 2018, he’s still a reliable workhorse that can serve as a topline starter for most teams. Nola’s spent his entire career with the Phillies and was in contract extension negotiations in the offseason before breaking off discussions before the season began.

Update 11/29: Nola has returned to the Phillies for a seven-year, $172 million deal. This enables Nola to spend the rest of his career with the team that originally drafted him back in 2014. Nola struggled during the regular season, but evened things out in the playoffs. He’ll lead a Phillies squad with World Series aspirations once again in 2024.

5. Yoshinobu Yamamoto
Age: 25
NPB Career statistics:
70-29/1.82 ERA/922 strikeouts

The hype for Yamamoto is growing by the day and along with Ohtani, is the most talked about free agent of the offseason. It seems all big market teams are drooling over the righthander. In 2023, he went 16-6 with a 1.21 ERA behind a fastball that hits the mid-90s and very good control, with low walk rates throughout his career in Japan. However, the reason he is number five on this list is that he hasn’t played a minute of Major League Baseball yet.

Update 1/4: The rich got richer on 12/27 as Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s deal with the Dodgers was finalized. The final numbers were staggering: 12-years and 325 million dollars. Yamamoto joins Bobby Miller and the newly acquired Tyler Glasnow atop LA’s pitching rotation, as the Dodgers look to avenge their early playoff exit in the 2023 playoffs. The Dodgers are also awaiting Clayton Kershaw’s decision to retire or return. Either way, the Dodgers will be loaded with talent next season.

6. Matt Chapman
Age: 30
2023 WAR: 4.3

2023 season statistics:
.240/.330/.424
17 home runs, 54 RBI, and four steals
WAR: 4.4

Chapman is in his second season with the Blue Jays after coming over from Oakland and he’s having more success this season than last. He’s raised his slash line from .229/.324/.433 in 2022 to .257/.348/.454 in 2023 and has added 15 home runs and 49 RBI. Chapman also excels defensively at third base, with three Gold Gloves under his belt and only eight errors committed this season (fifth among AL 3B). Chapman has said he’s open to staying in Toronto long-term, but is represented by Scott Boras who will encourage him to test the lucrative possibilities of the free-agent market.

7. Sonny Gray
Age: 33
2023 WAR: 3.4; PLV: 5.11

2023 season statistics:
184 IP/8-8/2.79 ERA/1.15 WHIP/183 strikeouts
WAR: 5.3; PLV: 5.13

Gray was named to his third All-Star game this season and he’s been solid during his time with the Twins, with a record of 13-10 and a 3.13 ERA. Gray is not the hardest thrower but has good movement on his fastball and curveball. He also doesn’t give up many home runs and has only surrendered five in 130.1 IP this season. All these factors should allow him to excel for at least a few more seasons. Gray has been frustrated in the past with Minnesota’s in-game management of pitchers so it would not be surprising to see him move on this offseason.

Update 11/29: As predicted, Sonny Gray has left the Twins, moving from the AL Central to the NL Central. Gray signed a three-year deal with the Cardinals worth $75 million. St. Louis had already signed Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson for the back end of their rotation and now Gray has joined the revamped pitching lineup for the Cardinals.

8. Cody Bellinger
Age: 28
2023 WAR: 3.9

2023 season statistics:
.307/.356/.525
26 home runs, 97 RBI, and 20 steals
WAR: 4.4

After leaving the Dodgers, Bellinger signed a one-year $12.5 million deal with the Cubs this past offseason, with some additional considerationseither a $5 million buyout after the season or a $25 million deal for the 2024 season. And with the way Bellinger has turned his career around this season, it’s likely he enters the free agent market where he can fetch a longer, more lucrative deal. The 2019 NL MVP is still only 28 years old and has been on fire in August, pushing his season slash line to .327/.377/.550 with 17 home runs, 17 steals, and 56 RBI. After Ohtani, he’ll be the best hitter available.

9. Clayton Kershaw
Age: 35
2023 WAR: 3.1; PLV: 5.04

2023 season statistics:
131.2 IP/13-5/2.46 ERA/1.06 WHIP/137 strikeouts
WAR: 3.7; PLV: 5.00

While it’s unlikely Kershaw moves on from the Dodgers, a franchise he has pitched for since 2008, he will be hitting the free agent market after his one-year, $20 million deal expires at season’s end. The future Hall of Famer was named to his 10th All-Star team this season and has pitched to a 10-4 record and a 2.51 ERA. Kershaw is already on record saying retirement may be on the horizon. If he doesn’t retire expect him to sign another one-year deal with the Dodgers. LA will oblige for as long as Kershaw wants to keep going.

10. Josh Hader
Age: 29
2023 WAR: 2.4

2023 season statistics:
56 IP/2-3/1.28 ERA/1.10 WHIP/85 strikeouts
WAR: 2.4; PLV: 5.26

Hader was the best closer in baseball for three seasons (2019, 2020, 2021) before struggling in 2022, but still compiling 36 saves. He rebounded in epic fashion in 2023, with the lowest ERA of his career (1.28) and bringing his WHIP back down to 1.10, much closer to his career average. He saved 33 games for the Padres and was named to his fifth All-Star game.

Teams looking for an elite closer will be lined up to sign Hader. He’s the best relief arm available and is likely to leave the Padres, and he still has a number of good years ahead of him.

Update 1/26: Josh Hader strengthens an already impressive Houston bullpen, signing a five-year, $95 million dollar deal with the Astros. This deal makes him the highest-paid relief pitcher in MLB history. Hader bounced back from a subpar 2022 season with an electric 2023 season, posting a 1.28 ERA and 1.10 WHIP with 33 saves. The question now facing the Astros pen –  what will happen with Ryan Pressly? Pressly has 105 saves over his past five seasons and will likely now move into a setup role while picking up an occasional save chance.

11. Lucas Giolito
Age: 29

2023 WAR: 2.1

2023 season statistics:
184.1 IP/8-15/4.88 ERA/1.31 WHIP/204 strikeouts
WAR: 1.6; PLV: 5.05

The White Sox moved Giolito to the Angels at the trade deadline and he’s under contract through the end of the season. Whether or not he’s a short-term rental until the end of the season remains to be determined, but he will have his share of suitors on the open market. Giolito doesn’t overpower hitters but if he can keep his walks in check, he’ll settle in as the second or third starter on a pitching staff. He was 59-52 with a 4.27 ERA during his time with Chicago, highlighted by a three-year run of success in 2019 – 2021 when he was 29-21 with a 3.47 ERA.

Update 1/4: Lucas Giolito moves to the AL East as he signs a two-year deal with the Red Sox. The contract includes a player option for the second year which would total $38.5 million. Giolito will try to reset his career after a subpar 2023 season during which he played for the White Sox, Angels and Guardians and finished with an 8-15 record and 4.88 ERA.

12. Teoscar Hernández
Age: 30

2023 WAR: 1.3

2023 season statistics:
.258/.305/.435
26 home runs, 93 RBI, and seven steals
WAR: 2.1

Hernández was an All-Star in 2021 and finished that season with 32 home runs, 116 RBI, and a .296 average. In the two seasons since, his numbers have dipped from those career highs to .267/.316/.491 in 2022 and .244/.291/.415 this season. He’s leading the AL in strikeouts with 148 through 113 games, the same number of strikeouts he had in his entire 2021 season (143 games). These numbers could suggest Hernández is on the downswing of this career, although he has some value due to his power and could serve as a DH during the later stages of his career. He also sounds open about returning to Toronto

Update 1/26: Hernandez continues the Dodgers’ off-season spending spree, signing a one-year deal worth $23.5 million and will likely take over Mookie Betts‘ outfield spot, moving Betts back to second base. Hernandez moves to the National League for the first time in his career and gives LA another powerful bat.

13. Jack Flaherty
Age: 27

2023 WAR: 1.7

2023 season statistics:
144.1 IP/8-9/4.99 ERA/1.58 WHIP/148 strikeouts
WAR: 0.8; PLV: 5.06

Flaherty has pitched well since the All-Star break and will try and continue his hot streak as he settles in with Baltimore after spending six seasons in St. Louis. In 2019, the Cardinals looked like they had an ace on their hands after Flaherty went 11-8 with a 2.75 ERA and 0.97 WHIP, which lead the NL, at only 23 years old. He then had another good year in 2021 when he went 9-2 with a 3.22 ERA, but walks have been a problem for Flaherty the last two seasons (1.61 WHIP in 2022 and 1.53 WHIP in 2023). Durability has also been a concern as he missed time in 2021 and nearly all of 2022 with a shoulder injury.

14. Jordan Montgomery
Age: 30

2023 WAR: 2.4; PLV: 4.84

2023 season statistics:
188.2 IP/10-11/3.20 ERA/1.19 WHIP/166 strikeouts
WAR: 4.1; PLV: 4.83

Montgomery’s bounced around from New York to St. Louis and now to Texas but has been a relatively consistent pitcher the past three seasons. He topped 150 IP in 2021 and 2022 and is on pace again in 2023. His ERA has remained in the mid-3.00s and he sits at a career record of 35-33. He’s an above-average pitcher who provides a steady mid-rotation arm. For teams that miss out on the top starting pitchers listed above, Montgomery could be a nice backup plan.

15. Kenta Maeda
Age: 35
2023 WAR: 0.9; PLV: 5.07

2023 season statistics:
104.1 IP/6-8/4.23 ERA/1.17 WHIP/167 strikeouts
WAR: 1.1; PLV: 5.03

Maeda missed the 2022 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and this season he has missed time with a triceps strain. However, he’s been excellent since the calendar flipped to July, going 2-2 with a 2.50 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 39.1 IP. If he finishes the rest of the season similarly, the lingering injury concerns should subside. His original MLB deal of eight years and $25 million expires after this season. He’s been one of Minnesota’s most consistent starting pitchers so they may opt to retain him on a shorter team deal.

Update 11/29: The Twins first lost Sonny Gray and now Kenta Maeda has also moved on to a new opportunity. Maeda signed a two-year deal with the Tigers worth a total of $24 million. He’ll be paid $14 million in 2024 and $10 million in 2025. Maeda had an up and down season after returning from Tommy John surgery and now will pitch his home games in a familiar ballpark within the same division.

16. Rhys Hoskins
Age: 30
2023 WAR: 0.0 (injured)

Here is the first pending free agent who has yet to play in 2023. Hoskins is recovering from a torn ACL suffered during spring training and, best case scenario, would return for the playoffs if the Phillies make a deep playoff run. It is unfortunate timing to get injured before entering free agency, but Hoskins has a consistent track record and is a known quantity at this point in his career. Case in point, Hoskins has four seasons where he’s hit .246, .245, .247, and .246. With other career averages of 25 home runs and 68 RBI per season so he’ll be one of the top power bats available. Unless Hoskins gets a large deal he can’t pass up, I would expect him to continue his career in Philly.

Update 1/26: Rhys Hoskins has reportedly signed a two-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. The $34 million deal includes an opt-out after next season. Hoskins is looking to return from a torn ACL and gets a fresh start with the Brewers. He should feel right at home in Milwaukee as he is a career .342 hitter in the Brewers home ballpark, with five home runs in nine games.

17. Jeimer Candelario
Age: 29
2023 WAR: 3.6

2023 season statistics:
.251/.336/.471
22 home runs, 70 RBI, and eight steals
WAR: 3.1

Candelario’s career went full circle recently as he returned to the Cubs at the trade deadline, the team that he debuted with back in 2016. Perhaps he will decide to sign with the Cubs long-term, who have utility man Nick Madrigal and streaky Christopher Morel as their other options at third base. Based on the shallow third baseman market, other teams will definitely be interested in Candelario, who is having one of the better years of his career. He’s hitting .275 with 17 home runs, 56 RBI, and seven steals while playing solid defense at the hot corner. In a surprising statistic, Candelario is also top-15 all-time in career fielding percentage at third base with .969 (11th all-time).

Update 12/10: Candelario signed a three-year, $45 million deal with the Reds after a surprising season for Cincinnati that ended with a 82-80 record. The acquisition of Candelario gives the Reds another power bat as he hit career-highs with 22 home runs and 70 RBI in 2023. He can play first base or third base and is a good defender at either position.

18. Harrison Bader
Age: 29
2023 WAR: 1.7

2023 season statistics:
.232/.274/.348
seven home runs, 40 RBI, and 20 steals
WAR: 0.6

Bader is a talented defender with some speed and a little popa combination that will earn him a payday in 2024. He’s hitting .265 with seven home runs and 13 steals. His career high in RBI came in 2021 when he had 50 RBI in 103 games. He has a chance to break that this year with 36 RBI through 68 games. The biggest question mark surrounding him will be his ability to stay on the field, as he’s been sidelined by injuries for parts of this season and last.

19. Joc Pederson
Age: 31
2023 WAR: 0.6

2023 season statistics:
.235/.348/.416
15 home runs, 51 RBI, 59 runs
WAR: 0.6

Joc Pederson had a nice debut with the Giants in 2022, making the All-Star team for the first time since 2015 and ending the year with a .274 average, 23 home runs, and 70 RBI. He’s typically among the league leaders in exit velocity and Max EV and is still hitting the ball hard in 2023 (currently in the top 5% of Max EV and Hard Hit %) but he’s had less luck this season.  His xBA is the same this year as last (.266) but his actual average has dropped to .233. He’s added 11 home runs and 39 RBI in 236 ABs. Pederson can struggle on defense and he’s received most of his starts at DH this season. But in the thin market, Pederson’s left-handed bat will be among one of the top targets for a hitting-hungry team.

Update 1/26: The 2023 National League champions have agreed with Pederson on a one-year $9.5 million contract. He gives the Dbacks a left-handed bat and is expected to get most of his playing time at DH. Pederson is coming off two seasons with Arizona’s NL West rival, San Francisco, where he hit 38 home runs and knocked in 121 RBI.

2o. Hunter Renfroe
Age: 31
2023 WAR: 0.6

2023 season statistics:
.233/.297/.416
20 home runs, 60 RBI, 60 runs
WAR: -0.6

Renfroe is like a slightly older version of Rhys Hoskinsproviding power and a career average in the .240swhile getting on base slightly less than Hoskins does. This season he is hitting .249 with 17 home runs and 51 RBI and a .307 OBP. He will provide some depth in the outfield and some pop.

21. JD Martinez
Age: 35
2023 WAR: 1.3

2023 season statistics:
.271/.321/.572
33 home runs, 103 RBI, 61 runs
WAR: 1.9

JD Martinez flies under the radar but when you look at his career, he’s consistently put up numbers. He’s been an All-Star for five of the past six seasons and should eclipse 30 home runs again this year. Martinez played out his five-year $110 million deal with the Red Sox and opted to sign a one-year deal worth $10 million with the Dodgers, signaling he will be looking at winning a ring rather than a big payday at this point in his career. Expect the same strategy this offseason.

22. Amed Rosario
Age: 27
2023 WAR: 0.4

2023 season statistics:
.263/.305/.378
six home runs, 58 RBI, 15 steals
WAR: 0.6

Rosario got off to a slow start this season hitting .227 in April and .233 in March before bumping up his average to its current .265, more in line with his career average of .273. He’s added six home runs, 51 RBI, and six steals and was traded from the Guardians to the Dodgers at the trade deadline. With Gavin Lux on the DL, Rosario was added to help shore up LA’s infield depth, but looking past this season, he doesn’t have a clear shot at starting full-time. He may opt to pursue teams where he has a guaranteed starting spot in 2024.

23. Aroldis Chapman
Age: 35

2023 WAR: 1.3

2023 season statistics:
58.1 IP/6-5/six saves/3.09 ERA/1.25 WHIP/103 strikeouts
WAR: 1.4; PLV: 5.15

After burning bridges on the way out of New York last season when he missed a workout and was left off the ALDS roster, Chapman had to prove himself this season if he wanted to keep playing beyond 2023. He’s responded with a 5-2 record and a 2.40 ERA, while mainly serving as a setup arm. Chapman’s continued his success with the Rangers as hitters have only managed a .174 average against him. He’s also cranked his velocity back up and has 76 strikeouts in 41.1 innings, good for an absurd 16.5 K/9. With his resurgent play this season, he’ll be one of the most sought-after relievers during free agency.

Update 1/26: Chapman moves on from his time with the Rangers to sign a one-year, $10.5 million deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. David Bednar has been locked in as the Pirates closer the last couple of seasons, including in 2023, when he saved 39 games with a 2.00 ERA. Bednar has long been rumored to be moved in trade talks, and Chapman gives the Pirates another established closer if that happens.

24. Tommy Pham
Age: 35
2023 WAR: 1.1

2023 season statistics:
.256/.328/.446
16 home runs, 68 RBI, 22 steals
WAR: 1.5

Pham was a late bloomer who didn’t get his first sustained MLB playing time until he was 27. Since then, he has provided moderate power and speed (two 20-20 seasons in his career and a good chance at 15-15 this season) as a fiery and competitive journeyman who’s played with the Cardinals, Rays, Padres, Reds, Red Sox, Mets, and now Diamondbacks. Pham can play in the outfield or at DH. Arizona seems to be set in the outfield, so if Pham is kept around for next year it will be primarily for his bat.

25. C.J. Cron
Age: 33
2023 WAR: -0.3

2023 season statistics:
.248/.295/.434
12 home runs, 37 RBI, 38 runs
WAR: -0.5

Here we come to the first position player with a negative WAR this season in Cron, with a -0.3. However, in the previous two seasons, Cron was a revelation with the Rockies, hitting .281 with 28 home runs and 92 RBI in 2021 and 29 home runs with a career-high 102 RBI in 2022. While now away from the friendly skies of Coors Field, he is hitting only .190 in 13 games with his second run with LA (he debuted with the Angels in 2014). He represents one of the best options for teams in need of a first baseman.

26. Luis Severino
Age: 29
2023 WAR: -2.0; PLV: 4.96

2023 season statistics:
89.1 IP/4-8/6.65 ERA/1.65 WHIP/79 strikeouts
WAR: -1.5; PLV: 4.98

It will be interesting to see what happens with Luis Severino this offseason. He battled his way back from Tommy John surgery and last season looked like the pitcher we saw in 2017 and 2018, when he went 33-14 with a 3.18 ERA and made two All-Star teams. His 2023 season has been one to forget however as he now sits with a 2-7 record and an unsightly 8.06 ERA. Severino will need some offseason work to get things under control and he’s likely to move on from New York for a fresh start with a new team. He should still attract interest and will be targeted once the top tier of pitchers has signed.

Update 11/29: Luis Severino once looked like a potential ace for the Yankees but injuries slowed him down over the past few years. He only made 18 starts in 2023 and will now get a fresh start across town. The Mets decided despite Severino’s future injury potential, he was worth the risk as they signed him to a one-year $13 million deal. If healthy, Severino looks to slot in toward the end of the Mets starting pitching rotation.

27. David Robertson
Age: 38
2023 WAR: 1.5; PLV: 5.07

2023 season statistics:
65.1 IP/6-6/18 saves/3.03 ERA/1.19 WHIP/78 strikeouts
WAR: 1.6; PLV: 5.03

When the season started, the Mets were expecting to be contending for a World Series with their offseason additions of Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, and Robertson was locked in as a main bullpen piece ahead of Mets closer Edwin DiazFast forward five months and Diaz is still shelved after an injury suffered during the World Baseball Classic, Max Scherzer’s gone, Justin Verlander’s gone, and the Marlins are battling for a Wild Card spot, eight and a half games ahead of the Mets. Oh yeah, and Robertson is now closing for Miami. Robertson was forced into action after Diaz was hurt and he responded with a 4-2 record and 14 saves with a 2.05 ERA. In five games played with Miami, he has three saves. Robertson’s a flexible and reliable reliever with over 170 saves in his career and who is still finding success with his cutter and curveball at age 38. The oldest pending free agent on this list, he’ll be looking to sign with a contender if he decides to play again next season.

Update 1/26: The Rangers quickly moved on from the departure of Aroldis Chapman by signing the 38-year-old but still reliable Robertson. Robertson wasn’t as sharp in Miami as he had been in New York but should be able to return to form in Texas. He saved 18 games in 2023, and has 175 saves in his career.

28. Matt Moore
Age: 34
2023 WAR: 1.6; PLV: 4.99

2023 season statistics:
52.2 IP/5-1/2.56 ERA/1.16 WHIP/60 strikeouts
WAR: 1.9; PLV: 5.00

Moore was a starting pitcher for most of his career, even earning an All-Star nod way back in 2013. That season he went 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA for the Rays. In 2022, the Rangers shifted him to a relief role and he responded with a 5-2 record, 1.95 ERA, and the first save of his career (he finished the year with five saves). Moore’s been even better this season as his ERA has dropped to 1.70 and his WHIP sits at 0.89. With the switch to relief pitching, he may have extended his career a few more seasons and his services will be recruited by teams looking to strengthen their bullpens.

Update 1/26: The Angels have made a lot of noise in the bullpen recently, signing Robert Stephenson, and resigning Moore to a one-year $9 million deal. Moore has been a solid piece of the Angels’ bullpen, providing consistency in a setup role.

29. Craig Kimbrel
Age: 35
2023 WAR: 1.5; PLV: 5.32

2023 season statistics:
69.0 IP/8-6/23 saves/3.26 ERA/1.04 WHIP/94 strikeouts
WAR: 1.8; PLV: 5.38

Kimbrel has been better this season than last and was named to his ninth All-Star team during his first season with the Phillies. His ERA of 3.18 and WHIP of 0.98 are lower than last season (3.75 and 1.32) and he has 19 saves in 2023, bringing his career total to 413, good for eighth all-time. The future Hall-of-Famer Kimbrel has bounced around the past few seasons so if he isn’t resigned by the Phillies, he’ll be seeking out a home where he can win in 2024.

Update 1/4: When Baltimore’s dominant closer Felix Bautista went down with an elbow injury toward the end of last season, there was hope he could return for the playoffs. Unfortunately that did not happen and Bautista underwent Tommy John surgery in October, leaving the Orioles needing a closer for 2024. Enter Craig Kimbrel. The man who is eighth all-time with 417 saves joins Baltimore on a one-year deal worth $12 million. The deal includes a club option for 2025. If Kimbrel can keep Bautista’s seat warm and pitch adequately, the Orioles will be in the mix again in the AL East next season.

30. Jordan Hicks
Age: 26

2023 WAR: 0.3; PLV: 5.19

2023 season statistics:
65.2 IP/3-9/12 saves/3.29 ERA/1.36 WHIP/81 strikeouts
WAR: 0.8; PLV: 5.09

Hicks seems like he has been around forever, yet is still only 26 years old. He debuted with the Cardinals in 2018 and made waves with his otherworldly velocity, routinely topping 100 MPH and hitting 105 during his rookie season. He was expected to be the closer in 2019 but then missed most of the season to Tommy John surgery, and then sat out the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns (Hicks has Type-1 diabetes). He finally found himself back in the closer role this season after Ryan Helsley landed on the injured list, and saved eight games with the Cardinals before being shipped to the Blue Jays to fill in for the injured Jordan Romero. Hicks struggles with pitch location and may never turn out to be the All-Star flamethrower we expected when he was a hyped rookie, but could still carve out a career as a valuable bullpen specialist.

31. Randal Grichuk
Age: 32
2023 WAR: 0.4

2023 season statistics:
.267/.321/.459
16 home runs, 44 RBI, two steals
WAR: 1.3

Grichuk missed time at the beginning of the year while recovering from hernia surgery. Since then, he is hitting a career-high .291 with a career-best OBP of .345 through 76 games played this season. Granted, the numbers were helped by playing the first half of the season at Coors Field and he has struggled since being traded to the Angels. During his first 13 games playing with LA, he’s hitting a paltry .174.

32. Charlie Blackmon
Age: 37
2023 WAR: 0.2

2023 season statistics:
.279/.363/.440
eight home runs, 40 RBI, four steals
WAR: 1.4

Blackmon, like Clayton Kershaw, is another elder statesman who has played a decade-plus with one franchise. Blackmon is in his 13th season with the Rockies and is in the top 10 in most of Colorado’s franchise hitting categories. If he doesn’t retire, it’s unlikely Blackmon goes anywhere else. He’s hitting .265 with five home runs and 26 RBI this season and nearing a return from the injured list.

33. Blake Treinen

Age: 35
2023 WAR: 0.0 PLV: 0.0 (injured)

Treinen was an All-Star with the A’s in 2018 when he was 9-2 and had a sparkling ERA of 0.78. He was also one of the best relievers in baseball in 2021 when he led the MLB with 32 holds and went 6-5 with a 1.99 ERA and 0.98 WHIP for the Dodgers. He then missed most of last season and all of this season with a shoulder injury, so there will be a question mark looming over him for 2024. He’s one of several Dodgers pitchers trying to work their way back for a postseason return.

34. Michael Brantley
Age: 36
2023 WAR: 0.0 (injured)

2023 season statistics:
.278/.298/.426
two home runs, seven RBI, seen runs
WAR: 0.1

Brantley is a five-time All-Star who is a respected veteran and a career .298 hitter but also has been oft-injured throughout his career. He has been shelved for all of 2022 as he recovers from shoulder surgery.

35. Mitch Garver

Age: 32
2023 WAR: 1.0

2023 season statistics:
.270/.370/.500
19 home runs, 50 RBI, 45 runs

Though he has been overshadowed by Jonah Heim’s breakout, Garver is having his best season since 2019 when he hit 31 home runs in 93 games for the Bomba Squad Twins. Through 46 games, he’s hitting .282/.356/.487 with eight home runs and 30 RBI. For a team looking for an answer at catcher, they could do worse than Garver. Projecting his career statistics over a 162 game average, he’s averaged 28 home runs and 82 RBI with a .252 average.

Update 1/4: Garver was one of two hot-hitting Rangers catchers in 2023, finishing with a .270 average and 19 home runs in just 296 at-bats. As Jonah Heim solidified himself as the Rangers catcher of the future, Garver leaves Texas to join the Mariners on a two-year $24-million deal. Garver will likely get at-bats as the DH for the Mariners next season.

Top Free Agents with Opt-Outs & Team/Player Options

 

Nate Kosher

Nate Kosher is based in the Twin Cities and is a staff writer for Pitcher List. He grew up watching low-budget Twins teams at the Metrodome before eventually converting to the Arizona Diamondbacks (the power of teal and purple in the 1990s). His goal is to someday visit all 30 MLB ballparks and he believes Barry Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame. You can read more of Nate's writing in his newsletter, The Relief Pickle.

6 responses to “Top 35 MLB 2023-2024 Free Agents”

  1. Astros Fan says:

    Luis Garcia is Pre-Arbitration. The Astros have 3 more years of team control.

  2. Steve says:

    No Yamamoto?!? ??

  3. Mike Lynch says:

    Josh Hader is a free agent, no?

  4. Phils Fan says:

    Jose Alvarado is signed through 2025 with a club option for 2026.

    Lorenzen doesn’t make your cut?

  5. Roger Santa Monica says:

    At least 12 of the 20 highest paid players in 2023 are not performing close to their pay (ex.: Stanton). Many of them are total busts this year or for years of the contracts due to injury (ex.: DeGrom, Strasburg). The odds of a long-term, 8 or 9-figure free-agent contract turning out to be positive for the team are less than 40%.

  6. Mario Mendoza says:

    Julio Urias was your #2?? That dude may never be allowed back on the field!

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