The 2023-24 MLB offseason is nearly two weeks old and we’re still waiting for the first major move. That’s not unusual. The offseason is a marathon, not a sprint, much like the season itself. It should be noted Friday is the non-tender deadline. There’s usually a flurry of activity leading up to the deadline, so things should pick up soon. Here are our top 50 free agents and top 25 trade candidates. Now here are Monday’s hot stove rumors.
Geography may not be Ohtani’s top priority
Joining a competitive team, not geography, could be Shohei Ohtani’s greatest priority this offseason, according to MLB.com. It is no secret Ohtani wants to join a contender — “It sucks to lose,” he said in July — though it is also believed he prefers the West Coast. The Angels failed to make the postseason (or even post a winning record) in any of Ohtani’s six seasons.
East Coast teams like the Braves, Mets, Phillies, Red Sox, and Yankees all figure to be in the mix for Ohtani to some degree, though some (Braves and Phillies) are better equipped to contend right away than others. The Phillies (Kyle Schwarber) and Yankees (Giancarlo Stanton) already have a full-time DH, but it’s Shohei Ohtani. If he’s willing to join your team, you sign him, and make the pieces fit later.
Angels strongly interested in Anderson
The Angels are strongly interested in former White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, reports USA Today. In deference to Zach Neto, the Angels could move Anderson to second base, where he played two games in 2023 and also in the World Baseball Classic. Luis Rengifo is penciled in at second base but is versatile enough to play elsewhere should the Halos land Anderson.
Anderson, 30, had a wretched 2023 season, prompting the White Sox to decline his $14 million club option. That said, Anderson hit at least .301 every year from 2019-22, and he’s still young enough that there’s reason to believe he could regain his previous form with a change of scenery. In a free agent market thin on middle infielders, there are worse rolls of the dice than Anderson.
Braves want to add a starter
The defending NL East champion Braves want to add a starting pitcher and could spend big to do so, according to The Athletic. The Braves picked up their $20 million club option on Charlie Morton earlier this offseason, and they have an opening in the No. 5 spot behind Morton, Bryce Elder, Max Fried, and Spencer Strider. Michael Soroka could be a candidate for that spot.
Free agent Aaron Nola has strong ties to Atlanta pitch coach Rick Kranitz, who was with the Phillies from 2016-18. It should be noted Fried and Morton will be free agents after 2024. Signing a starter to a multi-year contract this offseason would give the Braves another top starter to pair with Strider in 2025 and beyond. It wouldn’t prevent the Braves from re-signing Fried either.