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The Student Media Site of Georgia College & State University

Bobcat Multimedia

The Student Media Site of Georgia College & State University

Bobcat Multimedia

MLB free agent prediction

Erik Drost / Flickr
Photo of Shohei Ohtani

The 2023 MLB season is officially over, and teams and fans are looking for new players in free agency to help boost their roster.

Many enticing players have recently hit the free agency market at all positions on the field. Some big names worth noting are Shohei Ohtani, Blake Snell, Cody Bellinger and Aaron Nola, who could receive big contracts as free agency plays out.

Starting with the biggest name in baseball, two-way designated hitter and starting pitcher Ohtani. Ohtani has the possibility of receiving the biggest contract in MLB history this off-season, and rightfully so. There is a lot of speculation around the league that Ohtani will receive a $500 million contract due to the offensive and pitching presence he brings to the field.

“I can’t imagine the team that signs him doesn’t give him a contract north of $500 million,” said Jake Myers, a sophomore marketing major. “He’s early in his career, but he will go down as one of the best players ever to play the game of baseball with his skill set. If it meant that he would put a Braves uniform on, I would pay $600 million.”

In 2023, Ohtani’s pitching record was a 10-5 record, with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts. His offensive stats this season were a .304 batting average, 1.066 OPS. and 44 home runs in only 497 at-bats.

Manny Randhawa with predicts that Ohtani is a heavy favorite to join the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2024 season. The Dodgers have been known for having one of the top payrolls in the MLB, so it will be interesting to see if their front office is willing to make it even higher.

Snell is another top free agent who will be seeing a large contract in the near future. Snell, a starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres, added another Cy Young Award to his trophy case this past season — his contract year. He previously won the Cy Young Award with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018.

Snell posted a league-leading 2.25 ERA with a 31.5% strikeout rate in his 32 starts last season. The St. Louis Cardinals are presumed to be the favorites to land the left-hander, as they expressed their interest in more starting-pitching depth after a less-than-ideal 2023 season, in which they finished last in the NL Central division.

Bellinger is coming fresh off a one-year contract with the Chicago Cubs, where he had a huge bounce-back year this past season. The former NL MVP played 130 games, where he slashed for a .307 batting average and a .356 on-base percentage with 26 home runs and 97 RBIs.

The versatile center fielder has drawn the eyes of the New York Yankees, who desperately need a left-handed power bat. The dominant righty lineup would love to see Bellinger in the mix with power bats Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and young slugger Anthony Volpe. The short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium will favor Bellinger’s pull-dominant swing.

Nola is another big target for teams in the MLB, as the 31-year-old veteran can provide lots of playoff experience for any team that lands him. He has spent his whole career with the Philadelphia Phillies and received votes for the Cy Young Award.

“I have heard speculation of the Braves going out and signing him this off-season,” said Connor Childers, a junior management major. “If that means the Braves don’t have to face him in the playoffs, that would be a lot less stressful for sure.”

The Phillies will want to keep Nola and are probably frontrunners for the right-hander, but the Braves are also in the chase for him.

Teams are hungry for the next piece that will put them in the position to win a World Series in 2024. As the off-season unfolds, many contracts could be inflated as more significant pieces are taken off the market, so It will be an offseason that MLB fans will want to keep their eye on.



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