MLB FREE AGENCY: NOVEMBER EDITION

2023-12-03 · 8 min read · MLB/Baseball
Jackson Chourio and Philadelphia Phillies

David Durochik/Diamond Images via Getty Images | MLB

As December arrives and Free Agency is in full swing, Shohei Ohtani remains unsigned. So too do Cody Bellinger and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, with rumours about each growing by the day. While conjecture for each runs rampant, the stove certainly hasn’t been cold - plenty of clubs have already begun their roster shuffling. Below is a comprehensive list of every notable transaction since November 1st:
ACCEPTED QUALIFYING OFFERS:
  • N/A
    • In contrast to previous years, all seven players who received qualifying offers rejected them - thus allowing them to become Free Agents.
DECLINED QUALIFYING OFFERS:
  • Shohei Ohtani, SP/DH - Los Angeles Angels
  • Cody Bellinger, OF - Chicago Cubs
  • Matt Chapman, 3B - Toronto Blue Jays
  • Blake Snell, SP - San Diego Padres
  • Josh Hader, RP - San Diego Padres
  • Sonny Gray, SP - Minnesota Twins
  • Aaron Nola, SP - Philadelphia Phillies
EXERCISED PLAYER OPTIONS/OPT-INS:
  • Javier Baez, SS, Detroit Tigers - Four-years, $98 Million
  • Max Scherzer, SP, Texas Rangers - One-year, $22.5 Million
  • Michael Conforto, OF, San Francisco Giants - One-year, $18 Million
  • Josh Bell, 1B, Miami Marlins - One-year, $16.5 Million
  • Ross Stripling, SP, San Francisco Giants - One-year, $15 Million
  • Andrew Heany, SP, Texas Rangers - One-year, $13 Million
  • Drew Smyly, SP, Chicago Cubs - One-year, $10.5 Million
  • Omar Narvaez, C, New York Mets - One-year, $7 Million
  • Matt Carpenter, 3B, San Diego Padres - One-year, $5.5 Million
DECLINED PLAYER OPTIONS/OPT-OUTS:
  • Eduardo Rodriguez, SP, Detroit Tigers - Three-years, $49 Million
  • Marcus Stroman, SP, Chicago Cubs - One-year, $21 Million
  • Sean Manaea, SP, San Francisco Giants - One-year, $15 Million
  • Justin Turner, 3B, Boston Red Sox - One-year, $13.4 Million ($6.7 Million buyout)
  • Mike Clevinger, SP, Chicago White Sox - One-year, $12 Million ($4 Million buyout)
  • Wade Miley, SP, Milwaukee Brewers - One-year, $10 Million ($1 Million buyout)
  • Jorge Soler, OF, Miami Marlins - One-year, $9 Million
  • Hector Neris, RP, Houston Astros - One-year, $8.5 Million ($1 Million buyout)
  • Seth Lugo, SP, San Diego Padres - One-year, $7.5 Million
  • Adam Ottavino, RP, New York Mets - One-year, $6.75 Million
EXERCISED CLUB OPTIONS:
  • Charlie Morton, SP, Atlanta Braves - One-year, $20 Million
  • Kyle Hendricks, SP, Chicago Cubs - One-year, $16.5 Million
  • Mark Canha, OF, Detroit Tigers - One-year, $11.5 Million
  • Jorge Polanco, 2B, Minnesota Twins - One-year, $10.5 Million
  • Chad Green, RP, Toronto Blue Jays - Two-years, $21 Million
  • Alex Cobb, SP, San Francisco Giants - One-year, $10 Million
  • Max Kepler, OF, Minnesota Twins - One-year, $10 Million
  • Brooks Raley, RP, New York Mets - One-year, $6.5 Million
  • Jose Leclerc, RP, Texas Rangers - One-year, $6.25 Million
  • Yan Gomes, C, Chicago Cubs - One-year, $6 Million
  • Jon Berti, 2B, Miami Marlins - One-year, $3.625 Million
  • Carson Kelly, C, Detroit Tigers - One-year, $3.5 Million
  • Blake Treinen, RP - Los Angeles Dodgers, $1 Million
DECLINED CLUB OPTIONS:
  • Miguel Cabrera, DH, Detroit Tigers - Two-years, $62 Million
  • Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds - One-year, $20 Million
  • Lance Lynn, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers - One-year, $18 Million
  • Michael Wacha, SP, San Diego Padres - Three-years, $18.5 Million
  • Nick Martinez, RP, San Diego Padres - Two-years, $16 Million
  • Liam Hendricks, RP, Chicago White Sox - Two-years, $36 Million
  • Max Muncy, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers - One-year, $14 Million
  • Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox - One-year, $14 Million
  • Scott Kingery, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies - One-year, $13 Million
  • Corey Kluber, SP, Boston Red Sox - One-year, $11 Million
  • Johnny Cueto, SP, Miami Marlins - One-year, $10.5 Million
  • Joe Kelly, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers - One-year, $9.5 Million
  • Eduardo Escobar, 3B, Los Angeles Angels - One-year, $9 Million
  • Matt Barnes, RP, Miami Marlins - One-year, $9 Million
  • Eddie Rosario, OF, Atlanta Braves - One-year, $9 Million
  • Aaron Loup, RP, Los Angeles Angels - One-year, $7.5 Million
  • Andrew Chafin, RP, Milwaukee Brewers - One-year, $7.25 Million
  • Brad Hand, RP, Atlanta Braves - One-year, $7 Million
  • Daniel Hudson, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers - One-year, $6.5 Million
  • Collin McHugh, RP, Atlanta Braves - One-year, $6 Million
  • Kirby Yates, RP, Atlanta Braves - One-year, $5.75 Million
  • Drew Rucinski, SP, Oakland Athletics - One-year, $5 Million
  • Mark Melancon, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks - One-year, $5 Million
  • Joely Rodriguez, RP, Boston Red Sox - One-year, $4.25 Million
  • Victor Robles, OF, Washington Nationals - One-year, $3.3 Million
  • Jarlin Garcia, RP, Pittsburgh Pirates - One-year, $3.25 Million
  • Alex Reyes, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers - One-year, $3 Million
  • Justin Wilson, RP, Milwaukee Brewers - One-year, $2.5 Million
  • Curt Casali, C, Cincinnati Reds - One-year, $2.5 Million
DECLINED MUTUAL OPTIONS:
  • Zach Davies, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks - One-year, $5.5 Million
  • Whit Merrifield, UTL, Toronto Blue Jays - One-year, $18 Million
TRADES:
  • Detroit Tigers acquire OF Mark Canha from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for RHP Blake Holub.
  • Seattle Mariners acquire C Blake Hunt from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for C Tatem Levins.
  • Milwaukee Brewers acquire INF Oliver Dunn from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for INF Robert Moore and OF Hendry Mendez.
  • Oakland Athletics acquire INF Abraham Toro from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for RHP Chad Patrick.
  • Atlanta Braves acquire LHP Aaron Bummer from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for RHPs Mike Soroka and Riley Gowens, LHP Jared Shuster, and INFs Nicky Lopez and Braden Shewmake.
  • Colorado Rockies acquire RHP Cal Quantrill from the Cleveland Guardians in exchange for C Kody Huff.
  • Kansas City Royals acquire RHP Nick Anderson from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for cash considerations.
  • Milwaukee Brewers acquire 1B/OF Jake Bauers from the New York Yankees in exchange for OFs Jace Avina and Brian Sanchez.
  • Miami Marlins acquire INF Vidal Brujan and RHP Calvin Faucher from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for RHP Andrew Lindsey, INF Erick Lara, and a PTBNL or cash considerations.
  • Cleveland Guardians acquire RHP Scott Barlow from the San Diego Padres in exchange for RHP Enyel De Los Santos.
  • Seattle Mariners acquire INF Luis Urias from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for RHP Isaiah Campbell.
  • Kansas City Royals acquire RHP Kyle Wright from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Jackson Kowar.
  • Arizona Diamondbacks acquire 3B Eugenio Suarez from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for C Seby Zavala and RHP Carlos Vargas.
SIGNINGS:
  • Aaron Nola, SP, Philadelphia Phillies - Seven-years, $172 Million:
    • One of the biggest names on the market, Nola opts to stick in Philadelphia - though, it was reported, he had been offered more money elsewhere. He’ll rejoin a terrific Philly rotation, and stay with the club he’s known since being drafted.
  • Sonny Gray, SP, St. Louis Cardinals - Three-years, $75 Million:
    • The most major of St. Louis’ three starting pitcher signings, Gray finished 2nd in the AL Cy Young race while dominating all year for the Twins. He’ll be the de facto ace of the Cardinals’ staff barring another drastic addition.
  • Reynaldo Lopez, RP, Atlanta Braves - Three-years, $30 Million:
    • One of a handful of relief moves Alex Anthopoulos has made this offseason, the ex-Chicago arm looks to build off a solid tenure with the Guardians to finish 2023, where he allowed no runs over 11 innings of work.
  • Joe Jimenez, RP, Atlanta Braves - Three-years, $26 Million:
    • After coming to Atlanta from Detroit, Jimenez put up the best year of his career in 2023 and the Braves waste no time in retaining his services. Striking out 73 of 56 ⅓ IP, Jimenez posted an ERA of 3.02
  • Nick Martinez, RP, Cincinnati Reds - Two-years, $26 Million:
    • After opting out of his contract with the Padres, Martinez sticks in the NL with a young Reds club on the brink of being competitive. The ability to flip-flop between rotation and bullpen is intriguing, though look for him to be in the primary rotation mix come April.
  • Kenta Maeda, SP, Detroit Tigers - Two-years, $24 Million:
    • If nothing else, Maeda will (hopefully) stabilize a young and inexperienced Tigers’ staff who just lost Eduardo Rodriguez to Free Agency - the 35-year old looks to put up his 2020 numbers once again, in which he finished 2nd in the AL Cy Young.
  • Max Muncy, INF, Los Angeles Dodgers - Two-years, $24 Million:
    • After originally having his club option declined, the Dodgers re-inked Muncy to a more manageable deal at $12 Million per (as opposed to his higher $14 Million option)
  • Emilio Pagan, RP, Cincinnati Reds - Two-years, $16 Million:
    • Much like his 2019 season with Tampa Bay, Pagan was terrific out of the pen for Minnesota in 2023. Amidst Cincinnati’s revamping of their bullpen, Pagan will likely serve as a relatively high-leverage set-up man for them.
  • Pierce Johnson, RP, Atlanta Braves - Two-years, $14.25 Million:
    • After being acquired from Colorado last season, Johnson was fantastic for the Braves out of the pen - a stellar 0.76 ERA over 23 ⅔ IP, drastically different from the 6.00 ERA he posted when coming out of the Rockies’ pen.
  • Luis Severino, SP, New York Mets - One-year, $13 Million:
    • Likewise with his new manager, Severino skips across town to join a Mets squad that’s looking to rebound after last year’s implosion. It’s a prove-it deal, with Severino looking to get back to his pre-2023 efficiency.
  • Kyle Gibson, SP, St. Louis Cardinals - One-year, $13 Million:
    • Another addition to the Cardinals’ starting staff, Gibson - the ultimate innings eater - is coming off a season with Baltimore in which he put up a career-high in starts (33). Mid-rotation at best, Gibson will provide length every fifth day.
  • Lance Lynn, SP, St. Louis Cardinals - One-year, $11 Million:
    • Lynn heads back to his old squad, where he won a World Series in 2011. The last few seasons have been rough between Chicago and Los Angeles, though in his first six seasons with St. Louis he posted a 3.38 ERA over 977 ⅔ IP.
  • Jason Heyward, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers - One-year, $9 Million:
    • A deal that makes sense for both sides, Heyward regained his offense last season with the Dodgers after struggling with the Cubs - this was bound to happen from the get-go.
  • Colin Rea, SP, Milwaukee Brewers - One-year, $4.5 Million:
    • Following a decent 2023 that saw Rea set MLB career highs in starts, innings pitched, wins, and strikeouts, he’ll rejoin the Brewers’ staff as a back-end arm who can eat innings everytime he goes out to the mound.
  • Luke Maile, C, Cincinnati Reds - One-year, $3.5 Million:
    • After a successful 2023, the Reds re-up their productive backup catcher to a one-year deal with the hopes he’ll continue to effectively tandem with Tyler Stephenson.
  • Joey Wendle, UTL, New York Mets - One-year, $2 Million:
    • In Wendle, the Mets get another utilityman with a track record of success. An All-Star in 2021, he took a step back last season with Miami hitting only .212, though in seven seasons prior he hit .271 and was much more consistent.
  • Garrett Hampson, UTL, Kansas City Royals - One-year, $2 Million:
    • The speedy outfielder latches on to Kansas City, where he’ll get a fair share of playing time to rebuild his stock. Look for Hampson to be an under-the-radar move for a competitor at the Trade Deadline.
  • Paul DeJong, SS, Chicago White Sox - One-year, $1.75 Million:
    • With Tim Anderson gone, Paul DeJong will take over the role as Chicago’s primary shortstop. He’s cheap, and if things don’t go well $1.75 Million isn’t a backbreaker.
  • Adam Kolarek, RP, Los Angeles Angels - One-year, $900,000:
    • The funky-throwing lefty was out for much of the last three years, with little success when he did take the mound. From 2018-2020 though, Kolarek was quite good with the Rays and Dodgers as he was used as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen.
  • Osvaldo Bido, RP, Oakland Athletics - One-year, $750,000:
    • After being let go by Pittsburgh, Bido will join an underwhelming Athletics’ bullpen. The upside? He’ll have plenty of runway to figure it out, and provides some ability to jump from rotation-to-bullpen when needed.
  • Penn Murfee, RP, Atlanta Braves - Non-guaranteed, MILB split:
    • A split deal, though Murfee’s numbers over the last two years with Seattle are more than convincing enough to be a member of Atlanta’s MLB bullpen - an ERA of 2.70 over your first two years in the bigs will do that.
  • Austin Adams, RP, New York Mets - One-year, TBA:
    • New York adds another bullpen piece in Adams, though not of the high-leverage variety. He’s now on his fifth team since 2017, and has ups and downs throughout - barring an injury, he’ll likely start the season with the Major League club.
  • Joe Kelly, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers - One-year, TBA:
    • After having his club option ($9.5 Million) declined, the Dodgers bring back Kelly on a not-yet-announced one-year deal, worth less than his club option. Acquired from the White Sox mid-season, Kelly was considerably better with Los Angeles as he allowed just two runs over 11 IP.
  • Ali Sanchez, C, Pittsburgh Pirates - One-year, TBA:
    • With five more years of being arbitration-eligible, should Sanchez steal the starting job behind the dish for Pittsburgh it allows contract control for a club that won’t be overly competitive in 2023. No downside for either party.
  • Jackson Chourio, OF, Milwaukee Brewers - Eight-years, $82 Million:
    • Only 19, this move is an interesting one - Milwaukee is hedging their bets and dishing out a contract now, although Chourio has only played six games above AA in his career. The #2 Prospect in all of baseball now gets a hefty pay raise, buying out his arbitration years. This sets the record as the most expensive contract for a Minor Leaguer, previously held by Chicago’s Luis Robert at $50 Million. Chourio’s deal could potentially reach up to 10 years and $140 million, with incentives.
WAIVER CLAIMS:
  • New York Yankees claim OF Oscar Gonzalez off waivers from the Cleveland Guardians.
  • New York Mets claim OF Cooper Hummel off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.
  • New York Mets claim C Tyler Heineman off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • Pittsburgh Pirates claim RP Roddery Munoz off waivers from the Washington Nationals.
  • Miami Marlins claim RP Kaleb Ort off waivers from the Boston Red Sox.
RETIREMENTS:
  • Stephen Strasburg, SP:
    • Unofficially retired for fourteen days in September before Washington opted to change the plan, Strasburg hasn’t thrown a pitch since 2022 and likely won’t ever again. Though not officially retired, for all intents and purposes he is listed here.
  • Trevor May, RP:
    • Only 34 years old, May announced that he’s hanging up the cleats this offseason. He posted good numbers in 2023 with Oakland, a 3.26 ERA over 46 ⅔ IP and would easily have found himself another deal had he wanted to. The righty’s been critical, rightly so, of Oakland’s departure to Las Vegas in recent months.
  • Nelson Cruz, DH:
    • One of the best hitters of the 2010’s, Cruz is now done with Major League Baseball at the age of 43. Cruz has seven All-Star appearances to his name, four Silver Sluggers, and was in the top-10 for MVP six times - his highest finish was 6th, in 2015 and 2020. Over 19 years, he belted 464 HR with 1,325 RBI.
  • Jackie Bradley Jr., OF:
    • The longtime Boston Red Sox outfielder announced his retirement as well, having struggled since leaving Boston in 2021. An All-Star in 2021, Bradley Jr. was known as one of the game’s best defensive outfielders during his time playing, winning a Gold Glove in 2018. In that same year, he won the World Series with the Red Sox.
HIRINGS:
  • Bob Melvin, San Francisco Giants:
    • Following the dismissal of Gabe Kapler, the long-time Oakland (and briefly San Diego) manager takes over a Giants squad that sits among an incredibly talented NL West.
  • Stephen Vogt, Cleveland Guardians:
    • The ex-MLB catcher finds his first coaching gig, taking on a Cleveland club that has some very interesting pieces amidst a mediocre AL Central. He is the most-recent former player to be hired right into a managerial position.
  • Carlos Mendoza, New York Mets:
    • Perhaps the most surprising choice by Steve Cohen to lead the Mets, Mendoza comes from the other side of New York where he’s been a bench coach with the Yankees since 2018. He’s a new face, and will have a relatively skilled roster in his first go-around as a manager.
  • Craig Counsell, Chicago Cubs:
    • In a surprise decision to leave the Brewers, Counsell remains in the NL Central with one of his former rivals as he takes the spot of David Ross. A hefty deal worth $40 Million over five years, the Cubs evidently believe in the success he’s had with Milwaukee.
  • Ron Washington, Los Angeles Angels:
    • One of baseball’s most beloved coaches gets another crack at managing, this time with the likely-Ohtaniless Los Angeles Angels. You’d be hard pressed to find a more competent coach anywhere, so should the Angels finally break through in 2024 much of the credit will likely be given to Ron Washington.
  • Joe Espada, Houston Astros:
    • With Dusty Baker retiring, the still-formidable Astros turn to Joe Espada who has been with the team since the 2018 season. He’s familiar with Houston’s success, as they chose to continue the path they’ve been on with Espada’s history.
  • Pat Murphy, Milwaukee Brewers:
    • The Brewers didn’t have to look too far after the departure of Craig Counsell, as Pat Murphy - Bench Coach of the club - takes over after a very long tenure within the Milwaukee organization.
  • Mike Shildt, San Diego Padres:
    • Likewise with the Brew Crew, San Diego looked inward for their replacement, landing on first base coach and ex-Cardinals manager Mike Shildt. Benji Gil, Team Mexico’s manager in the WBC, was thought to be a finalist however the club opted to stay in-house.
OTHER NEWS:
  • Pittsburgh Pirates’ righty Johan Oviedo, acquired from St. Louis in the 2022 Jose Quintana deal, will be out the entirety of 2024 after undergoing Tommy John Surgery. The 25-year old posted a 4.31 ERA over 177 ⅔ IP across 32 starts in 2023.
  • Clayton Kershaw will be out until mid-2024 after undergoing surgery to repair the gleno-humeral ligaments and capsule of his left shoulder. Kershaw posted a 13-5 record for the Dodgers in 2023, accumulating an outstanding 2.46 ERA over 24 starts.
  • Bryan Abreu’s two-game suspension handed out in the ALCS will be enforced at the beginning of the 2024 season, following confirmation from the office of the MLB.
  • RHP Thomas Hatch has been released from his contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates in order to sign with the Nippon-Ham Fighters of the NPB.
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By: Gus Cousins

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