Shohei Ohtani is the top free agent in the 2024 MLB free agency class

2024 MLB Free Agent Predictions: Let The Ohtani Sweepstakes Begin

With the MLB offseason just about wrapped up, baseball fans get a chance to take a deep breath and look toward spring training. 

There have been some jaw-dropping contracts handed out this year (the Mets went absolutely bonkers), which, overall, is good for the players, it’s good for the game, and it sets a hefty precedent for all MLB contracts going forward. The 2023-24 MLB offseason should be equally epic, if not more so than this year, as some marquee players such as Shohei Ohtani hit the open market.

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2023 MLB Free Agents: A Quick Recap

Very quickly, let’s roll through the biggest signings of the offseason.

The Mets Break The Bank

Steve Cohen, the richest owner in MLB, went ham this winter. He started by re-upping closer Edwin Diaz to a five-year, $102-million contract. After that, it was nabbing Justin Verlander on a two-year, $86.7-million deal to make up for the loss of Jacob deGrom, who signed with the Texas Rangers. 

New York wasn’t done there as it also re-signed Brandon Nimmo (arguably the best free-agent center-fielder) to a massive deal worth $162 million over eight years and added Japanese star pitcher Kodai Senga. Of course, the Mets were also smack-dab in the middle of the Carlos Correa saga.

Carlos Correa’s Physical Fiasco

This was a mess. Correa, represented by super-agent Scott Boras, agreed to a 13-year deal with the San Francisco Giants. What a signing! Everyone in the Bay Area was happy, and a press conference was scheduled to introduce their newest player. Not so fast. Team doctors found an issue with a pre-existing leg injury of Correa’s, prompting the Giants to back out of the deal.

Cohen’s Mets saw an opportunity and rushed into a 12-year deal worth slightly less money. The Big Apple was pumped, and Cohen went on the record gushing about the signing. Well, surprise, surprise, that fell apart, too, as the Mets found the same issues during Correa’s physical. 

In the end, Correa returned to the Minnesota Twins on a six-year, $200-million deal, putting the whole saga to bed. 

Judge Stays In The Bronx

The Aaron Judge sweepstakes came down to two teams: the Yankees and the Giants. While Judge talked with both squads extensively this winter, his heart was ultimately with the Bronx Bombers, who inked him to a nine-year, $360-million contract. 

Other Notable MLB Free Agency Contracts

  • SS Trea Turner – Phillies – Nine years, $360 million

  • SS Xander Bogaerts – Padres – 11 years, $280 million

  • SS Dansby Swanson – Cubs – Seven years, $177 million

  • SP Carlos Rodon – Yankees – Six years, $162 million

2024 MLB Free Agents: Odds And Predictions

There’s an exciting MLB free-agent class set for 2024. Let’s make some predictions for where each star player will end up. 

Shohei Ohtani: MLB Free Agent Predictions

Which team will Shohei Ohtani play For To Start The 2024 Season?
Los Angeles Angels+145
New York Mets+400
St. Louis Cardinals+500
San Francisco Giants+600
Los Angeles Dodgers+700
Toronto Blue Jays+700
New York Yankees+700
Texas Rangers+800

Odds as of February 1

Ohtani, the golden goose of the 2024 class, is a one-of-a-kind player. No player in the modern era has done what he does: hit like an MVP and pitch like a Cy Young winner. That’s why Ohtani could command one of the largest deals in MLB history.

Plenty of clubs will be interested, but who will sign him? The Angels are chalked, but with Ohtani’s comments about wanting to be competitive, I’ll bet he jets out of there as soon as possible. The Mets (+400) have spent like crazy, so I don’t hate the idea of them breaking the bank one more time, especially with Max Scherzer likely coming off the books.

As a value pick, the Giants (+600) are a solid bet, as Japanese players often elect to sign close to the Pacific coast. San Francisco has also shown a willingness to spend, which was evident in its pursuit of Judge and Correa.

Best Bet: Mets +400
Value Pick: Giants +600

Max Scherzer: MLB Free Agent Predictions

Which team will Max Scherzer play For To Start The 2024 Season?
New York Mets-250
Los Angeles Angels+250
San Diego Padres+500
Boston Red Sox+650
Seattle Mariners+900

Odds as of February 1

Scherzer, who can opt out after 2023, should also have a strong market. Again, it’s likely he returns to the Mets (-250), but the value is so weak it’s not worth it. Plus, if we operate under the hypothesis that Ohtani ends up in Flushing Meadows, then Scherzer is bound to go elsewhere.

I don’t hate the Angels at +250, though I also like the Padres (+500) and Red Sox (+600) as potential destinations. Nearing retirement, “Mad Max” will likely seek a one- or two-year deal worth upwards of $40 million per season. 

Best Bet: Angels +250
Value Bet: Red Sox +650

Manny Machado: MLB Free Agent Predictions

Which team will Manny Machado play For To Start The 2024 Season?
San Diego Padres-250
New York Mets+300
Los Angeles Dodgers+500
New York Yankees+500
Boston Red Sox+850

Odds as of February 1

Another star who’s likely to opt out, Machado will generate a massive market. The more I think about it, though, the more I’m convinced he’s a Met for 2024. The Correa pursuit told the world New York was clearly interested in adding to the left side of the infield, but a deal wasn’t struck.

Surely, Cohen’s pockets are not bottomless (right?), but with Scherzer, for example, signing elsewhere, the Mets could offer Machado a sweet, sweet deal he won’t be able to refuse. 

Best Bet: Mets +300
Value Bet: Yankees +500

Josh Hader: MLB Free Agent Predictions

Which team will Josh Hader play For To Start The 2024 Season?
San Diego Padres-200
Chicago Cubs+325
Los Angeles Dodgers+500
Philadelphia Phillies+500
Texas Rangers+500

Odds as of February 1

Once the best reliever in baseball, Hader struggled mightily in 2022 (5.22 ERA) but came around for a vintage playoff performance during San Diego’s run to the NLCS (5.1 IP, 10 K, 0 ER). The left-hander will hit the open market in 2024 with no shortage of potential suitors.

I think the -200 chalk on a return to the Padres is well-placed, as they aren’t likely to let him escape. That said, I wouldn’t count out high-spending teams like the Phillies (+500) or Dodgers (+500) from swooping in. 

Best Bet: Padres -200
Value Bet: Dodgers +500