Welcome to the offseason! I'll do just a quick rundown of what you need to know about these 2023-24 MLB free agent rankings and projections, since I think you'll likely scroll immediately to the players and then return back here when you have a question.
For simplicity, players are ranked in the order of their projected guaranteed contracts, not how good I think they are. The contract projections are a mix of my opinions and those of agents and executives, but the aim is to try to predict what will happen -- not what I think the players are worth. When there's a notable debate to be had over length or total value of a contract, I'll note it in the blurb.
Seven players received the qualifying offer (a one-year, $20.325 million contract) this week and can choose to accept or decline it by Tuesday. They are all expected to turn it down, which means that if they leave their 2023 clubs, those teams will be entitled to draft pick compensation. The signing team would also lose some draft pick capital, but that price is slightly different depending on the revenue status of each club.
Two winters ago, teams set a record for free agent spending at $3.625 billion, then we set another mark last winter at $3.938 billion (by my math). Industry chatter is that this winter should see healthy spending once again, but the talent level of the group is notably down -- excepting the top-ranked player. I wouldn't expect record spending, but it is certainly on the table. On to the educated guesses!