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What Fans Should Know About the 2023-2024 Offseason

Here are some major things that have happened through the offseason, in preparation for the season to come. The 2023 offseason was a mess, with the development of 'Asron' Judge and the San Francisco Giants losing out on another major free agent, Carlos Correa not being able to pass two physicals. It was an interesting offseason. Going into the 2023-2024 offseason, Shohei Ohtani was the talk of seemingly every baseball fan. The Japanese two-way Star has taken the baseball world by storm. There are many other free agents like Jung Hoo-Lee, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Chris Sale. Ohtani was the dream for most teams, the two-way star that would fit perfectly into any organization. The Giants, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, and even the Seattle Mariners were interested. The Atlanta Braves were brought in as well. At the end of the day, only one team won the offseason.

Phillies own Aaron Nola, one of the greatest Phillies pitchers, was to start the offseason off with a massive 7-year, $172 million dollar deal. After having another playoff appearance in the wildcard and once again getting that taste of October baseball,  once again getting that taste of October Baseball they wanted to resign one of their greats. Nola recorded a 4.46 ERA, marking his second-highest since 2016 (4.78). His strikeout rate fell to 25.5 percent, the lowest since 2016. Additionally, he surrendered 32 home runs, which tied for the seventh-highest in baseball. But, the Phillies have been able to see Nola at his best and his worst. 

Sonny Gray is going to the Cardinals this offseason with a three-year, $75 million deal. The Cardinals have this idea of having three strong starters, and after Adam Wainwright retired, the Cardinals are on the market to find their big three.  In 2023, Gray, 34 years old, achieved a 2.79 ERA while playing for the Minnesota Twins. Over the past five seasons, spanning his time with both Cincinnati and Minnesota, he has maintained a solid 3.22 ERA. This will be a strong number one or two guys for the Cardinals going into the 2023 season, and who will maybe help the Cardinals gain playoff momentum once again? Sonny Gray is perfect for the Cardinals. Gray is not an elite bat but he prevents home runs, something the Cardinals will without a doubt benefit from. The Cardinals struggled with the second-weakest strikeout rate in baseball.

The Yankees are also in the market for both a pitcher and some outfielders and have traded for Alex Verdugo. The Red Sox’s trade OF Alex Verdugo to the Yankees, for RHPs  (right-handed pitchers) Greg Weissert, Richard Fitts, and Nicholas Judice. This was a script flip for both teams with Verdugo getting mouthy with a couple of Yankees fans at Yankees Stadium during the 2023 season. Now, Yankees fans have to grow to support the outfielder. During 2023, Verdugo had an average of .264 and ops of .745 with the Red Sox and might be able to help the struggling Yankees outfield. The Yankees continued to make moves with outfielders and also acquired outfields Juan Soto and outfielder Trent Grisham. People figured this was happening, especially with the San Diego Padres possibly not being able to pay Juan Soto because of how many superstars the Padres have of their own. The only thing Juan Soto might struggle with moving forward is his defense. It's very poor but his offense will make up for the lack of defense, as seen with him hitting 35 homers with a .930 OPS. 

Courtesy of Ed Szczepanski

Dec. 9, 2023, was the day Shohei Ohtani signed a record-breaking contract, signing 12 years, $700 million dollars with the Los Angeles Dodgers. At first, everyone was thrown off by the fact Ohtani might have been on a plane to Toronto but now he was at home signing with the Dodgers. Coming off an MVP season, Ohtani was on fire, still playing even after his second Tommy John surgery. After this major signing, Ohtani deferred half of his contract until after 12 years. Another superstar from Japan was about to sign the biggest pitching contract. Yoshinobu Yamamoto signed a 12-year, $325 million contract that broke a couple of records, considering he has never pitched in the MLB. In the World Baseball Classic, Yamamoto played with his new and former teammate, Shohei Ohtani. Yamamoto has a 1.72 ERA, 986 strikeouts, and a .915 WHIP. With about 4 pitches that will make batters look silly, he's known for his wicked curveball and an insane splitter. The Dodgers have not assembled a superteam of their own. Fans should keep their eyes on both Yamamoto and Ohtani, who are bound to make great additions to their new teams.

Courtesy of Wally Skalij

After missing out on both Japanese superstars, the San Francisco Giants had to make a move of their own. The Giants signed rising Korean superstar, Jung-Hoo Lee, who has also never played a game in the MLB. Many Giants fans were very disappointed in missing out on Ohtani, but Lee should be able to win over fans in no time. Lee signed a 6-year, $113 million deal of his own. In 2022, Lee was named KBO MVP thanks to a .349 batting average. This isn't what Giants fans wanted, but it will do. The Giants also made the move to trade for Robbie Ray, giving up Mitch Haniger, and a starting pitcher from their rotation, Anthony DeSclafani. 

There are plenty of names and faces for this upcoming baseball season. While the offseason may have been a little bit chaotic, with trades and record-breaking contracts, this season is sure to attract long-time and new baseball fans to watch. 

Edited by: Jessi Dworkin

Social Media Content Created by: Delaney Galbraith

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