More than 100 players remain without contracts this offseason. However, since the end of the season, news headlines have continued to revolve around the same 12 numbers.
But what happened to the rest of the free agents? Why hasn’t there been much movement in your markets so far?
Let’s take a look at the top five free agents whose markets seem to have frozen this winter.
Hoskins’ time in Philadelphia came to an end when Dave Dombrowski announced that Bryce Harper would move to first base permanently next season, so unless Nick Castellanos is traded and Harper returns to the outfield, Hoskins will be wearing a fresh new uniform in 2024 .
Hoskins, who turns 31 in March, missed all of last season with a knee injury in the preseason but hopes to be healthy for the start of upcoming training camp. In four full seasons in the Major Leagues (not counting the COVID-19-shortened season in 2020), the slugger averages more than 30 home runs per year while playing at least 153 games in three of those championships.
Several teams are still in search of a power bat, with the Blue Jays and Cubs being the most important. Both teams have been linked to Hoskins, and after failing to land Shohei Ohtani, Hoskins could choose either of those two destinations.
Toronto could rotate Hoskins and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. between first base and designated hitter.
Hoskins’ option for Chicago depends on what happens with Cody Bellinger, who remains available. If Bellinger returns to the Cubs, he could play center field until major league prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong arrives, when Bellinger can move to first base. If the slugger doesn’t re-sign with Chicago, Hoskins could fill that void at first base.
Anderson became a free agent when the White Sox declined his $14 million option for 2024, and although he has two All-Star selections, an American League crown and a Silver Slugger season to his name, the shortstop has had a very difficult season in 2023.
The 30-year-old hit .245/.286/.296 with one home run, 25 RBIs and 13 stolen bases last year, falling from the .318/.347/.474 line he had from 2019-2022. He suffered a knee injury in early April that kept him out for three weeks, but it appears to have plagued him all year.
Anderson’s struggles will likely result in a one-year deal where he hopes to regain his value and push for a new contract next winter. Several teams could be interested, with the Giants, Angels and Marlins among the clubs that were linked to him this offseason.
Dominican Marco Luciano, San Francisco’s second-best prospect, is coming off a short stint with the Giants in which he posted a .641 OPS and struck out 17 in 45 at-bats. Bringing in a veteran will allow Luciano to continue his development in the minors. Anderson can also play second base, giving the Giants an option once Luciano gets established.
Miami currently has John Berti, and while Miami isn’t expected to spend a lot of money on free agents (they are one of two teams not to sign a major league free agent this winter), Anderson could be a great fit. The Marlins expressed interest in acquiring Anderson at the trade deadline, and if the slugger can be lured with an incentive deal, he could be motivated to bounce back in 2024.
We’ve heard a lot about the top three starters on the market: Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery and Seth Imanaga. If injuries and inconsistency hadn’t hampered Stroman since the All-Star break, the right-hander might be perceived as a pitcher at this level.
Even after a rocky second half, Stroman opted out of his final year and $21 million, giving the 32-year-old a chance to try his luck on the free agent market. Several teams have shown interest in Stroman, but just like Snell, Montgomery and Imanaga had to wait until Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto signed, Stroman will likely have to wait for a few more pieces to fall before landing a new deal.
The Giants, Angels, Orioles and Red Sox have all been linked to Stroman, which makes sense given their respective rotation needs. A reunion with the Cubs also can’t be ruled out, although it’s more likely that Stroman will sign with a new club.
Pederson is drawing interest from teams looking for help in the outfield and/or designated hitter spot, especially those looking for a powerful left-handed bat. The 31-year-old outfielder hit 15 home runs and had a .764 OPS last season. Of those home runs, 14 were against right-handed pitchers.
D-backs linked to Pederson are the Angels, Giants and Mariners, as well as the Blue Jays and Cubs, two teams that have seemingly expressed interest in all the top bats on the market this year.
The trade of Mitch Haniger from San Francisco to Seattle on Friday left a vacancy in the Giants’ outfield, while the Mariners could still need another at-bat after the departures of Eugenio Suarez, Jared Kelenic and Teoscar Hernandez.
The Cubs’ interest likely depends on what happens with Bellinger, who appears to be key to Chicago’s interest in several players. Pederson spent the first half of 2021 with the Cubs.
Pederson’s postseason history should also intrigue potential suitors, as he saw action seven times in October, winning World Series rings with the Dodgers in 2020 and the Braves in 2021. In 79 postseason games, Pederson had 12 homers, 29 RBIs and an .814 OPS.
Of course, Pederson isn’t the only reliable left-handed bat on the market; Puerto Rican Eddie Rosario, his former Braves teammate who was named MVP of the 2021 National League Championship Series with Atlanta, hit 21 home runs last season, 18 of them against right-handed pitchers.
The wide receiver market has been tight this winter, with Puerto Ricans Victor Caratini and Martin Maldonado, Austin Hedges and Tom Murphy representing the most prominent free agent signings at the position.
Sanchez didn’t sign until April 1 of last year, joining the Giants on a minor league contract. However, he never reached the major leagues with San Francisco, so he abandoned the deal and signed with the Mets in early May. The Dominican played three games for New York before being claimed off waivers by the Padres on May 29 when the former Yankees phenom resumed his career.
In 72 games for San Diego, Sanchez hit 19 home runs with 46 runs batted in and had a .792 OPS, but his greatest contributions came behind the plate, where he served as Snell’s personal catcher for 18 straight starts, helping out the lefty. win the National League Cy Young Award.
There was talk of a possible return to San Diego, but the Padres acquired Kyle Higashioka in a trade that sent Juan Soto to the Yankees, rendering Sanchez’s services unnecessary.
Several teams are still looking for help, including the Marlins, Rays and Red Sox, but Sanchez appears to be in a holding pattern. Given the success he had with Snell last year, he may be keeping an eye on his former teammate’s situation in hopes that Snell’s new club will be willing to sign his personal catcher as well.