From bats with MVP potential to starters likely to end up in Cooperstown, from another lineup of all-stars for the second year in a row to an intriguing Japanese pitcher, to a host of all-diamond impact players, there are plenty of options available in the free agency.
So here we leave you with a look at the top 20 players who could be available (depending on who decides to opt out of their current deals now that the World Series is over). The ages listed are what the players will be as of June 30, 2023.
1. Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees, age 31
Class of the year before free agency, sir. When Judge turned down the Yankees’ seven-year, $215.3 million offer just before the season began, he was a huge gamble in himself, given his age and injury history. But Judge responded with an incredible and historic 2022. What he did at the plate was extraordinary. But he was also efficient in center field and good on the bases, something that only increases his value. It will be fascinating how much more the Yankees are willing to offer if a bidding war breaks out with another club, like the San Francisco Giants, who play near Judge’s hometown of Sacramento.
2. Jacob deGrom, RHP, Mets, age 35
He can get out of his contract and leave on the table US$32.5 million guaranteed for 2023
Even after missing more than a year with elbow inflammation and a nondisplaced shoulder fracture, deGrom has made it clear that he will opt out of the remainder of his deal to test the market. After showing when he returned to the Mets’ rotation in August that he remains an elite arm with a career that could end in the Hall of Fame, deGrom could challenge the record for the most average annual value in a contract for a starter, currently held by Max Scherzer. What will be interesting to see is how far teams are willing to go in terms of the length of the deal, given the well-known injury history.
3. Trea Turner, SS, Dodgers, age 30
The free-agent shortstop group in the 2021-22 cycle was top-tier, and Turner heads another solid one this winter. Turner brings a fantastic mix of power, average, good defense at a key position and game-changing speed. His value, in fact, could increase in the stopwatch era, with the advent of limits on throwing to bases.
4. Carlos Correa, SS, Twins, 28 years old
He can get out of a contract that would guarantee him US$35.1 million by 2023
The Puerto Rican’s three-year deal with the Twins last winter (including player options for 2023 and 2024 for $35.1 million) was a legitimate surprise. Now, he once again has the option of seeking a longer deal on the market or staying with a Minnesota team he quickly became a leader of. Correa had a solid year for the Twins, but his injury history (and number of available shortstops) clouded his market last year, and his defensive metrics worsened in 2022.
5. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox, age 30
He can get out of his contract and leave three years and US$60 million guaranteed on the table
Bogaerts’ ability to hit is not in question. He’s posted a 128 OPS+ (or 28% better than league average) in each of the past five seasons, and he’s done it in a very demanding market. And by ranking in the 89th percentile in Above Average Outs, there should be no question about his current ability to defend shortstop, even if he ends up moving elsewhere at the end of a long-term deal.
6. Justin Verlander, RHP, Astros, age 40
He can opt out of his $25 million contract guaranteed for 2023
Apparently, age is just a number for Verlander, who became the oldest pitcher to not only return to pitch effectively after Tommy John surgery, but also do so at a Cy Young level. It was an impressive campaign even for someone who already had a strong case for getting into Cooperstown — including his first World Series win — and now we get to see where that takes him in terms of value.
7. Dansby Swanson, SS, Braves, age 29
At a minimum, Swanson is capable of providing an average offense and a solid glove at shortstop. But he’s also capable of going on tremendous streaks at the plate, and while other metrics don’t think so highly of him, Outs Above Average ranked him in the 100th percentile defensively this year. It will be interesting to see if the Braves show the market first, like they did last winter with Freddie Freeman.
8. Carlos Rodon, LHP, Giants, age 30
He can opt out of his $22.5 million contract guaranteed for 2023
Although he had a great 2021 with the White Sox, Rodón’s potential as a free agent was limited by concerns about his sore left shoulder and second-half fatigue. But a fantastic season with San Francisco could better position him to find a bigger contract this time around. He has an exceptional combination of fastball and slider.
9. Chris Bassitt, RHP, Mets, age 34
Though he wasn’t the Mets’ most hyped acquisition last winter, Bassitt proved to be just as reliable as he was in Oakland, putting a personal innings cap on a rotation that was temporarily without Scherzer and deGrom. It will be an attractive option for teams that don’t want to pay for deGrom or Verlander.
10. Brandon Nimmo, CF, Mets, age 30
Speed, good defense, a bit of power and solid strikeout and walk rates will make Nimmo an attractive option for teams not interested in entering the Judge race. The only obstacle for Nimmo has been health. But new training methods allowed him to play more games than in any other season since 2018. That should help boost his bonuses.
11. Koudai Senga, RHP, Japan’s Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, age 30
While Senga isn’t guaranteed to sign with an MLB team, some anticipate he’ll field some offers in the winter. And with a 2.59 career ERA and 1.11 WHIP (along with a fastball that has hit 101.9 mph) in 11 NPB seasons, the right-hander would be in the crosshairs of several clubs trying to beef up his starting pitching. .
12. Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Dodgers, age 35
Whether he decides to pitch in 2023 remains to be seen. He’s had a Hall of Fame record, has dealt with persistent back problems and — much like legend Sandy Koufax, who is always his comparison — wouldn’t try to empty the tank of your race. But even being capped in 2022, Kershaw showed that he’s still a master of his art. And whether it’s again renewing his contract with the Dodgers or signing with the Rangers to pitch near his hometown of Dallas — fulfilling what some in the industry have long speculated — the ace would still turn heads.
13. Tyler Anderson, LHP, Dodgers, age 33
His one-year deal with the Dodgers — following a 2021 season in which he posted a 4.53 ERA for the Mariners and Pirates — didn’t draw as much attention. But as always turns out to be the case, Los Angeles managed to get the better of the southpaw. Now off his highest innings total since 2018 and finding consistent success as a striker with an excellent changeup, Anderson appears to be a good stabilizing presence in the rotation.
14. José Abreu, 1B, White Sox, age 36
The Cuban, who has been a model of consistency since arriving in the Majors in 2014, has had just one full season in which his OPS was below .800 and he played fewer than 145 games (2018, when he won anyway). the Silver Slugger). As was the case three years ago, the Pallegids would seek to retain him because of how much they value his leadership.
15. Willson Contreras, C, Cubs, age 31
The Venezuelan’s defense worried some teams looking to acquire him at the trade deadline, which ultimately — though it seemed inevitable — resulted in no move. Those same concerns would affect Contreras in the free market. But impressive production with the bat from a catcher is hard to ignore, and if the Cubs don’t keep him, other teams would be interested in adding him to split his playing time as catcher and designated hitter, like Chicago did this year.
16. Martin Perez, LHP, Rangers, age 32
A year ago, the Venezuelan was shaping up to be a veteran back-rotation piece, posting mediocre strikeout (18.4%) and walk rates (8.7%) plus a 4.88 ERA from 2019-21. But then From a triumphant return to Texas in 2022, in which he posted a 2.89 ERA and a 137 ERA+ in 196.1 innings (his heaviest workload since 2016), he now looks like a totally different alternative.
17. Josh Bell, 1B, Padres, age 30
While he’s a commanding presence as a switch-hitter in a lineup, he’s also shown inconsistency. His 2022 campaign, in which he posted a .311/.390/.504 offensive line in the first half of the season before a second-half relegation (in which he was traded from Washington to San Diego) seems be a difficult alternative to contemplate.
18. Nathan Eovaldi, RHP, Red Sox, age 33
Although the right-hander was prone to giving up home runs in 2022 and has had two Tommy John surgeries, due to his raw stuff (including a fastball averaging 96 mph), the depth of his stuff and his postseason pedigree, it’s worth the effort. It’s worth including it on this list.
19. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Yankees, age 33
He can get out of his $16 million contract by 2023
He has enjoyed playing in the Bronx. In his first full season in pinstripes in 2022, he posted a .338 on-base percentage and his best slugging percentage (.480) since 2019. He matched a career-high with 32 home runs. He also had a strong postseason run, hitting .276/.432/.552.
20. Jameson Taillon, RHP, age 31
The team that signs him this winter could be adding him at the right time. Entering his third year following his second Tommy John operation, Taillon had his best walk rate (4.4%) in a full season and limited hard contact to an above-average rate (36.2%). He’s not the same flamethrower he was when he got out of high school, but after serious health problems (including testicular cancer), he seems to be fitting in as a command pitcher.
The list above only scratches the surface. Here are some of the most intriguing names in different positions.*
*This list could be expanded depending on various players who could be out of their contracts.
Catcher: Omar Narvaez, Gary Sanchez, Christian Vazquez
Infielder: Jesus Aguilar, Elvis Andrus, Brandon Belt, Evan Longoria ($13 million team option), Trey Mancini, Jean Segura ($17 million team option), Justin Turner ($16 million team option), Kolten Wong ($10 million team option)
Outfielder: Andrew Benintendi, Michael Brantley, Michael Conforto, Joey Gallo, Mitch Haniger, Joc Pederson, Tommy Pham ($12 million mutual option)
DB: Matt Carpenter, Nelson Cruz ($16 million mutual option), JD Martinez
Utility: Brandon Drury, Adam Frazier, Jurickson Profar ($7.5 million player option)
Starting pitcher: Carlos Carrasco ($14 million team option), Mike Clevinger, Johnny Cueto, Zach Davies, Zach Eflin, Shintaro Fujinami, Kyle Gibson, Zack Greinke, Andrew Heaney, Corey Kluber, Jordan Lyles ($11 million team option) , Sean Manaea, José Quintana, Ross Stripling, Noah Syndergaard, Michael Wacha, Adam Wainwright, Taijuan Walker ($6 million player option)
Relief pitcher: Zack Britton, Michael Fulmer, Chad Green, Brad Hand, Kenley Jansen, Craig Kimbrel, Seth Lugo, Rafael Montero, Matt Moore, Adam Ottavino, David Robertson, Taylor Rogers, Will Smith ($13 million team option)