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
2023 WAR: 8.6; PLV: 5.14
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.
2. Julio Urías
2023 WAR: 1.1; PLV: 5.19
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 age—he 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
2023 WAR: 3.5; PLV: 4.99
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
2023 WAR: 1.1; 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.
5. Matt Chapman
2023 WAR: 4.3
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.
6. Sonny Gray
2023 WAR: 3.4; PLV: 5.11
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.
7. Cody Bellinger
2023 WAR: 3.9
After leaving the Dodgers, Bellinger signed a one-year $12.5 million deal with the Cubs this past offseason, with some additional considerations—either 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.
8. Clayton Kershaw
2023 WAR: 3.1; PLV: 5.04
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.
9. Lucas Giolito
2023 WAR: 2.1
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.
10. Teoscar Hernández
2023 WAR: 1.3
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.
11. Jack Flaherty
2023 WAR: 1.7
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.
12. Jordan Montgomery
2023 WAR: 2.4; PLV: 4.84
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.
13. Kenta Maeda
2023 WAR: 0.9; PLV: 5.07
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.
14. Rhys Hoskins
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.
15. Jeimer Candelario
2023 WAR: 3.6
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).
16. Harrison Bader
2023 WAR: 1.7
Bader is a talented defender with some speed and a little pop—a 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.
17. Joc Pederson
2023 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.
18. Hunter Renfroe
2023 WAR: 0.6
Renfroe is like a slightly older version of Rhys Hoskins—providing power and a career average in the .240s—while 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.
19. JD Martinez
2023 WAR: 1.3
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.
20. Amed Rosario
2023 WAR: 0.4
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.
21. Aroldis Chapman
2023 WAR: 1.3
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.
22. Tommy Pham
2023 WAR: 1.1
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.
23. C.J. Cron
2023 WAR: -0.3
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.
24. Luis Severino
2023 WAR: -2.0; PLV: 4.96
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.
25. David Robertson
2023 WAR: 1.5; PLV: 5.07
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 Diaz. Fast 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.
26. Matt Moore
2023 WAR: 1.6; PLV: 4.99
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.
27. Craig Kimbrel
2023 WAR: 1.5; PLV: 5.32
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.
28. Jordan Hicks
2023 WAR: 0.3; PLV: 5.19
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.
29. Randal Grichuk
2023 WAR: 0.4
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.
30. José Alvarado
2023 WAR: 1.0; PLV: 5.11
Alvarado has pitched a pristine 1.38 ERA in 26 games played this season, but has missed time due to two separate stints on the 15-day IL with elbow inflammation. He’s had a nice run with the Phillies going 11-3 with a 3.86 ERA and 13 saves while serving mostly as a setup arm and occasional closer. The elbow troubles this season may scare off some teams but if he can play out the last month-and-a-half unscathed, he should have some options going into 2024.
31. Charlie Blackmon
2023 WAR: 0.2
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.
32. Blake Treinen
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.
33. Michael Brantley
2023 WAR: 0.0 (injured)
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.
34. Luis Garcia
2023 WAR: 0.5 PLV: 4.98
Garcia had 150+ strikeouts in back-to-back seasons and went 26-16 with a 3.60 ERA in 2021 – 2022. He was 2-2 this season before suffering an elbow injury on May 1st and undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery. He was signed to a one-year $763,000 deal with the Astros and was due for a nice pay raise prior to the injury.
35. Mitch Garver
2023 WAR: 1.0
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.
Top Free Agents with Opt-Outs & Team/Player Options
- Eduardo Rodriguez (opt-out)
- Marcus Stroman (opt-out)
- Jorge Soler (opt-out)
- Justin Turner (opt-out)
- Andrew Heaney (opt-out)
- Tim Anderson (team option)
- Liam Hendriks (team option)
- Max Muncy (team option)
- Jorge Polanco (team option)
- Whit Merrifield (mutual option)
- Michael Wacha (team and player options)