Top 10 Remaining MLB Free Agents

by Corey Pieper
Top 10 Remaining MLB Free Agents

Shohei Ohtani was the prize of the free agent market that everyone wanted. He has signed a massive contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers that stole the headlines. However, the hot stove is just heating up!

There are still so many free agents left that can help any team. Below you will find the top 10 remaining MLB free agents.

This article is only for free agents. If you want to know more about trade candidates, I wrote an article about those options during the Winter Meeting week.

Top 10 Remaining MLB Free Agents

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Yoshinobu Yamamoto, SP, Orix Buffaloes

Yoshinobu Yamamoto has been the most decorated pitcher in all of baseball for the past three seasons. In the Nippon Professional Baseball league, he has won three consecutive pitching Triple Crowns leading the league in wins, ERA, and strikeouts. In 2023, Yamamoto also won his third consecutive MVP and Sawamura Award-the Japanese equivalent to the Cy Young award.

The statistical dominance during his last three seasons is unmatched. He has an absurd 50-16 record! He has pitched 557.2 innings in the past three seasons with a minuscule 1.57 ERA! During that time, he has amassed 587 strikeouts to just 110 walks. Perhaps the most astounding feat of all is that in all those innings, he has allowed just 15 home runs including two last year over 171 innings!

The market for Yamamoto is robust. The current projected contract amount has exceeded 300 million dollars!

The teams with the deepest pockets are the current favorites to sign Yamamoto. The top rumored teams include the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, and Toronto Blue Jays.

Expect to see Yamamoto sign soon for one of the largest pitcher contracts ever.

Blake Snell, SP, San Diego Padres

Blake Snell may not have three consecutive Cy Young awards like Yoshinobu Yamamoto, but he now has two in his career. He joined a who's who of pitchers to have won the award in both the American and National leagues.

His year was not without flaws. Snell won the Nationa League Cy Young award while leading the league in walks. Having 234 strikeouts in just 180 innings helped to mitigate the walk issue.  As did a .256 BABIP against which helped him to lead the league in the fewest hits allowed per nine innings. Expect some regression in BABIP as the league average was .297. With natural regression will come more earned runs.

So far there has been very little buzz on Blake Snell's next destination. The one team that I have seen speculated is the Boston Red Sox.

Seems likely that Yamamoto will sign first. Then, teams who miss out on the Japanese star will turn their attention to Snell.

Jordan Montgomery, SP, Texas Rangers

Jordan Montgomery came to the Texas Rangers in a midseason trade with the St. Louis Cardinals. It couldn't have gone much better for Montgomery. The Rangers won all of his postseason starts, and Montgomery earned himself a World Series ring.

Between the Cardinals and the Rangers, Montgomery had his best statistical season yet. He was able to post a career-low 3.20 ERA.  Without even counting the postseason, he also set a new career high with 188 innings which helped him to set a new career high with 166 strikeouts. Strangely, he finished the regular season with a losing record of 10-11, but that statistic is mostly influenced by the support of your teammates.

Coming off a career year Montgomery should be expecting a large payday. Jon Heyman listed many teams that have starting pitcher needs including the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, and even returning to the Rangers.

Shota Imanaga, SP, Yokohama DeNA BayStars

Yoshinobu Yamamoto has been the focus of the Asian market this offseason, but don't discount Shota Imanaga. The lefthander has been plenty impressive himself in the Nippon Baseball League.

Imanaga is coming to the United States as a 30-year-old with a proven track record. He has pitched over 1,1100 career innings and has a career ERA under 3! Much like Yamamoto, the strikeout-to-walk ratios are what really impresses. He has struck almost four batters for each walk he has issued in his career.

We have seen Imanaga have success against major league hitters in the World Baseball Classic. He was actually the pitcher the Japanese team had start the gold-medal game against the United States over more heralded names in Yu Darvish, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and future phenom Roki Sasaki. (Sasaki's future may be sooner than we thought, but it seems very unlikely.)  He showed no fear striking out then-defending MVP, Paul Goldschmidt, on just three pitches.

Another instance where right now the rumors are limited as teams focus on other priorities. However, as more pitchers sign expect to see Imanaga earn himself a lucrative contract with a major league team.

Josh Hader, RP, San Diego Padres

Josh Hader is a premiere closer in Major League Baseball. Last season, we saw the New York Mets give another premiere closer, Edwin Diaz, a deal that could reach as much as 5 years and over 100 million dollars. Can Hader expect a similar payday?

Hader should expect a handsome payday given his track record of success. He has saved over 30 games in the last four full seasons. While the strikeouts have dipped from the absurd highs in his early career, it is still more than 13 per 9 innings. Last year, the walks climbed to a level that he had not dealt with before, but he gave up so few hits that he still posted a fantastic 1.28 ERA.

Right now, the Hader rumors are focused on another California team.

Matt Chapman, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto has been the focus of rumors of some of the biggest names in all of baseball. They looked to be the favorites to land Shohei Ohtani for a day. They were rumored to be in on Juan Soto. There have even been rumors that they may be willing to move one of their stars in shortstop Bo Bichette or first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. But one thing that seems likely is that they are going to be losing third baseman, Matt Chapman.

Chapman got off to a blistering start to the season. By the end of April, he had five home runs, 21 RBI, and a scorching .384 batting average. Unfortunately, from that point forward it was a very mediocre season. The rest of the season he hit only 12 more home runs to bring his season total to 17. He only had 33 RBI the rest of the season to bring his total to 54. He would only hit .205 the rest of the season so his season average finished at .240.

His still fantastic third base defense helps Chapman's value to an MLB team. The team that I have mostly seen speculated at this point is the Chicago Cubs.

Cody Bellinger, OF, Chicago Cubs

Speaking of those Chicago Cubs, they may be looking for a new center fielder. Cody Bellinger signed a one-year contract with the Cubs to try to recoup some value after a string of disappointing seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He couldn't have done much better at increasing his value than he did.

95 runs, 26 home runs, 97 RBI, 20 stolen bases, and a 307 average had people reminiscing about his MVP season of 2019. Looking under the hood, some of the Statcast data doesn't paint as rosy of a picture. While he cut down substantially on his strikeout rates, he didn't contact the ball particularly hard with just a 31% hard-hit rate and an 87.9 mile-per-hour average exit velocity.

A reunion with the Cubs is certainly possible, but so is a move to Seattle to play for the Mariners.

Jorge Soler, OF, Miami Marlins

After a down first season in Miami, Jorge Soler recaptured his home run stroke in year two. Even though he missed some time with an oblique injury, he had his first best season since 2019 with the Kansas City Royals.

The five statistics that affect our fantasy teams (runs, RBI, home runs, stolen bases, and average) were all the best since that magical 2019 season when Soler led the league with 48 home runs. His 36 home runs had him finish just outside the top 10 in all of Major League Baseball. He hit those home runs while maintaining a .250 batting average. That was his first time hitting above .230 since 2019.

The rumors that I've seen so far focus on the Seattle Mariners and the Arizona Diamondbacks. We've already seen the Diamondbacks add one slugger this offseason in Eugenio Suarez, but a second may be in the works too!

Teoscar Hernandez, OF, Seattle Mariners

Another Seattle slugger who may be on the move is Teoscar Hernandez. Hernandez joined the Mariners in a trade last offseason with Erik Swanson being the main piece of the return for the Toronto Blue Jays. His one season in Seattle was pretty typical for him.

He hit 26 home runs. In four of his five full seasons, he has hit between 22 and 26 home runs. Runs and RBI are somewhat dependent on the players around you, so they tend to fluctuate a bit more. His 70 runs scored and 93 RBI are more than serviceable. Even though he strikes out often, he hits the ball hard enough that he typically doesn't hurt your batting average. Last season, that was a .258 average.

Hernandez must have an affinity for the American League. He has always played in the American League, and every team I found being rumored is an AL team.

J.D. Martinez, DH, Los Angeles Dodgers

Another free agent who only spent one year with his last club was J.D. Martinez. The designated hitter left the Boston Red Sox for the Los Angeles Dodgers for only one season. However, you may have heard that the DH spot has recently been filled by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Martinez battled some back and groin injuries during the 2023 season which limited him to 113 games. You wouldn't know it when you look at his total numbers. He hit 33 home runs and drove in 103 batters while maintaining a .271 batting average. Surprisingly, he only scored 61 runs, but that seems rather fluky.

At this point, the market for Martinez has been developing slowly as the designated hitter focus was on Ohtani. All I was able to find to this point was speculation from Jon Heyman on a few teams with a designated hitter need.

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