Best Fits for Top Remaining Free Agents in 2023 24

Best Fits for Top Remaining Free Agents in 2023-24 –

With the holiday season in the rearview mirror and the New Year underway, the frost that has settled over free agency will likely thaw in the coming weeks.

Believe it or not, there are only about six weeks left until pitchers and catchers report to camps in Florida and Arizona. This serves as a deadline of sorts, motivating teams and unsigned players alike to move forward with negotiations.

As we eagerly await the increase in activity, we have decided to act as matchmakers and help find homes for some of the top free agents still on the board. Using each team only once, here are the best results for 11 notable players who remain uncommitted.

Blake Snell, SP
Best: Angels

Nothing the Angels do this offseason will make up for the loss of the incomparable Shohei Ohtani in free agency, but signing the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner would be a big step in the right direction as the franchise attempts a turnaround to bring about. The Halos definitely need starting pitching – their current rotation of Reid Detmers, Patrick Sandoval, Tyler Anderson, Chase Silseth and Griffin Canning combine for a 4.53 ERA over 111 starts in 2023. There are other weapons on the table market that can help the cause and won't cost as much as Snell, but this is a team that desperately needs a big splash.

Considering how Bellinger's market has played out this offseason, signs seem to point to the 28-year-old reuniting with the Cubs at some point. The Yankees were considered one of the favorites to land Bellinger at the start of free agency, but they are no longer in the mix after trading for Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo and Trent Grisham. The Blue Jays briefly surfaced as a potential suitor after missing out on Ohtani, but their deal for center fielder Kevin Kiermaier reduces their need to meet Bellinger's asking price. The same goes for the Giants, who signed Jung Hoo Lee to start at center. Chicago, meanwhile, has done nothing to improve its roster since signing manager Craig Counsell to a five-year, $40 million contract.

When the Yankees sent Montgomery to the Cardinals for center fielder Harrison Bader at the 2022 trade deadline, part of their reasoning was that they didn't expect the left-hander to fit into their postseason rotation. Ironically, a year later, Montgomery became the Rangers' playoff star and helped Texas win the World Series championship. Add another insult? He was particularly dominant in the Rangers' American League Championship Series victory over the Astros, a longtime nemesis of the Yanks. The Bronx Bombers may have won the Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes, but the return of Montgomery gives them a chance to right a past wrong and get the durable starting player they need.

In stark contrast to what they did the last two offseasons, the Rangers have largely remained in the background since their win in November. However, if the club makes a big expenditure in the coming weeks, Hader makes as much sense as anyone (assuming Montgomery isn't a realistic option given his price). Texas may have overcome its bullpen problems en route to the World Series title, but we can't ignore the fact that there were more missed throws than successful conversions in the regular season and that both Will Smith and Aroldis Chapman were off the roster the start of free agency.

The Giants scored a much-needed win in free agency by signing Lee, but they still have a lot of work to do after missing out on Ohtani and Yamamoto. San Francisco has been linked to Snell, but the club arguably has a greater need for another star player than a pitcher. Of the top two position players still on the market, Chapman seems like a more likely fit for San Francisco than Bellinger, in part because of the third baseman's previous relationship with new Giants manager Bob Melvin from their time together with the A's . In addition to his elite glove at the hot corner, Chapman would add much-needed strength to the Giants' lineup, which had just 87 home runs by right-handers last season (the sixth fewest in the MLB). Chapman himself hit just 17 home runs in 2023, but his excellent contact quality and track record suggest he's capable of more.

The Red Sox entered this offseason determined to add more starters and did just that when they agreed to a two-year deal with Lucas Giolito (per a source). But after that move was continued by the trade of Chris Sale to the Braves, Boston's rotation doesn't look much better than it did at the end of 2023. Signing Montgomery would make sense, but given the payroll questions raised in a recent report by Chris Cotillo of, Imanaga could be a better fit. The Japanese left-hander has until January 11 at 5 p.m. ET to sign with an MLB team after being signed by the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Nippon Professional Baseball in late November.

After a surprising appearance in the World Series, the D-Backs haven't rested on their laurels this offseason. Arizona has already made several key moves, acquiring third baseman Eugenio Suárez in a trade and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez in free agency before re-signing outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. But the club shouldn't stop there. While no one expects the D-Backs to match the spending habits of some other teams in the NL West, we would like to see them increase their budget to add another power hitter to their lineup. Arizona's DH production was among the worst in the game in 2023, making Martinez an ideal target. The veteran slugger isn't quite the threat he was in 2017, when he had a memorable stint with the D-backs after a trade from Detroit to Arizona, but his 134 OPS+ would have put him tied with Corbin Carroll for the team's lead last season.

After getting his first taste of the postseason with the Phillies in 2022, Hoskins may prefer to sign with a contender as he tries to recover from the torn ACL that cost him all of 2023. However, it's hard to make an obvious fit for him, considering that most playoff contenders can be placed into one of three categories: those who already have first base and DH, those who have a larger one elsewhere need, and those who probably aren't particularly likely to invest in free agency this offseason. Hoskins could be a backup option for the Cubs if they are unable to find common ground with Bellinger, but if that doesn't work out, we wouldn't be surprised to see him sign a contract with a rebuilding team like Washington -year- “Pillow” contract before making another run in free agency next year. The Nats could flip him at the trade deadline like they did with Jeimer Candelario last summer.

The Blue Jays dared to dream big when they sought a difference-maker early this offseason, making a serious push for Ohtani while also negotiating with the Padres about a trade for Soto as a possible replacement for Ohtani to contact. Toronto didn't get either player. The Jays did re-sign Kiermaier before signing utility man Isiah Kiner-Falefa, but none of those moves did much to improve the team's offense, which finished 14th in the majors last year. Toronto's roster is already full of right-handed hitters, so Soler isn't a perfect fit. But after missing out on Ohtani and Soto, the Blue Jays need to do something bigger than just re-sign Brandon Belt or bring in Joc Pederson, to name just two of the best left-handed hitters available.

The Orioles appear well-positioned to use some of their extensive prospect depth to trade for White Sox ace Dylan Cease, but if a deal doesn't happen soon, it would behoove them to move on a high-level option like Stroman in free agency a smart move. Stroman could slot into the O's rotation behind Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez, effectively replacing the departed Kyle Gibson and allowing the club to retain its young talent to potentially acquire an ace down the road.

Despite the focus placed on the Mets' rotation this offseason, the team still has some question marks on offense, too: Brett Baty, Tyrone Taylor and DJ Stewart are all in the starting spots, and 35-year-old right fielder Starling Marte has an OPS of .625 in 2023. Hernández is a proven deep threat who has hit more than 20 home runs in each of the last five full seasons (except the shortened 2020 season). Order the complement to Pete Alonso as he bounces between the two corners in the outfield and fills in as DH.