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Unlike the NFL or NBA where free agency is basically a 48-hour television show, MLB’s offseason and subsequent free agency comes at us like a slow-dripping faucet. With Opening Day now upon us, we’ll dive into every free agent contract signed this past winter that carries a total value guarantee of at least $25M, including all of the conditions, options, bells, & whistles included in each.

RELATED: MLB Free Agent Contracts

Shohei Ohtani (DH/SP, Dodgers)

10 years, $700,000,000

Ohtani landed a truly historic contract with the Dodgers back on December 9th, including a mesmerizing $680M of deferred cash. The result? A $70M per year contract now accounts for just $46,081,476 on LAD’s annual tax payroll for the next 10 seasons. Ohtani will earn $2M cash per year through 2033, then $68M cash each July 1st from 2034-2043. In addition, Ohtani has secured a full no trade clause, & he will be granted the ability to opt-out of the contract if controlling owner Mark Walter, or President Andrew Friedman are no longer with the Dodgers. He may also have the right to contest his future on the contract if he feels the Dodgers are not actively trying to keep a competitive roster around him at any point in time.

You know, but other than that, this is just your typical free agent contract.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (SP, Dodgers)

12 years, $325,000,000

The biggest international fish in the free agency pool also landed in LA, shattering previous contract values for players coming from outside leagues. Yamamoto’s deal comes with $55M cash in 2024 ($50M signing bonus plus $5M salary). When combined with a $50.625M posting fee that the Dodgers paid out to his former club Orix, this becomes a $105.625M investment for the upcoming season. Again - historic. Yamamoto will see $155M over the first 6 seasons of the contract before a player opt-out becomes available to him. There’s another opportunity to bail out after the 2031 season (8 years, $213,000,000). Yamamoto enters 2024 as the 9th highest average paid starting pitcher in baseball.

Aaron Nola (SP, Phillies)

7 years, $172,000,000

The Phillies wasted no time bringing back their former 1st round pick, locking in Nola through his age-37 season in 2031. There are no options, no opt-outs, and the 30-year-old secured a full no trade clause with the deal. It’s also a nice and easy $24,571,429 per year structure. Nola enters the 2024 season as the 13th highest average paid starting pitcher in baseball.

Jung-hoo Lee (OF, Giants)

6 years, $113,000,000

The 25-year-old leaves South Korea for a deal that pays him $12M in 2024 ($5M signing bonus, $7M salary). In addition, the Giants sent Lee’s former team (Kiwoom Heroes) an $18.825M posting fee, making this a $30M investment for the upcoming season. Lee will secure $72M over the next 4 seasons before an opportunity to opt-out becomes available. He enters April as the 5th highest average paid center fielder in baseball.

Josh Hader (RP, Astros)

5 years, $95,000,000

After plenty of teams chimed in, Hader opted to join one of the best teams in baseball, further fortifying a Houston roster that has annually been in contention. Hader secures a flat $19M each year through 2028 (his age 34 campaign), and a full no trade clause to help dictate his future. He becomes the 2nd highest average paid closer in MLB history, behind only Edwin Diaz ($20.4M).

Cody Bellinger (1B/OF, Cubs)

3 years, $80,000,000

After securing $17.5M in what was deemed his “showcase season” in 2023, Belling returns to the Cubs on a contract that now at least provides him a multi-year guarantee - if he so chooses. This 3 year, $80M contract contains a player opt-out after 1 year, $27.5M (+ a $2.5M buyout), then another player opt-out after 2 years, $55M (+a $5M buyout). So, in essence this is either a 1 year, $30M deal, or a 2 year, $60M deal, or a 3 year, $80M deal. 

Eduardo Rodriguez (SP, Diamondbacks)

4 years, $80,000,000

After shunning the Dodgers at the deadline, E-Rod joined another NL West team this past winter. The $80M guarantee consists of $76M across the next 4 seasons, plus a $6M buyout on a potential vesting option for the 2028 campaign. In full, this contract could max out at 5 years, $93M including innings incentives. Somewhat surprisingly, Rodriguez will earn the same $14M salary in 2024 that he secured with the Tigers in 2023.

Sonny Gray (SP, Cardinals)

3 years, $75,000,000

It’s been a rollercoaster ride of a career for Gray, who just completed a 5 year, $48M contract with Cincinnati/Minnesota combined, but the now 34-year-old will be asked to step in and solidify a shaky Cardinals rotation. His $75M guaranteed consists of $70M over the next 3 seasons, plus a $5M buyout on a 2027 club option. If exercised, this becomes a 4 year, $100M deal in full.

Blake Snell (SP, Giants)

2 years, $62,000,000

Despite early reports that multiple teams were offering blockbuster deals to Snell, the Boras-led pitcher opted for a short-term cash grab with the up and coming Giants. This is a 1 year, $32M contract with a player opt-out available after 2024. $17M of that $32M comes via a signing bonus which is deferred until January of 2026, lowering his present day tax salary from $31M to $29.7M. If he opts-in to the remaining 1 year, $30M, $15M of that salary is deferred to 2027. It’s a lot of ifs and maybes for arguably the best available pitcher on the open market this winter.

Matt Chapman (3B, Giants)

3 years, $54,000,000

Reportedly seeking a 5-6 year guarantee this winter, Chapman settled for a 3 year deal that includes a 4th year mutual option - but also contains player opt-outs after every season. Taking that into consideration, this becomes either a 1 year, $20M contract, a 2 year, $38M contract, a 3 year, $54M contract, or a 4 year, $73M contract. There’s a world where he and the Giants just led this one ride all the way out.

Seth Lugo (SP, Royals)

3 years, $45,000,000

Lugo declined a $7.5M player option with the Padres for 2024, instead securing $45M fully guaranteed through the 2026 season. He’ll have the ability to opt-out after 2 years, $30M if he feels a multi-year-guarantee opportunity could exist going forward.

Jeimer Candelario (3B, Reds)

3 years, $45,000,000

After a wildly successful 2023 both with Washington & the Cubs that earned him $5M total, Candelario scored a major raise that includes $72M through 2026, plus a $3M buyout on a 2027 team option. In full, this contract could max out at 4 years, $60M.

Jordan Hicks (SP, Giants)

4 years, $44,000,000

Despite just 8 career starts, the Giants handed Hicks $44M fully guaranteed this winter to join their rotation going forward. The 27-year-old made 65 appearances last season with the Cardinals and Blue Jays, posting a solid 3.29 ERA for his efforts. He can add $2M per year based on innings pitched, raising the max value of this deal up to $52M over 4 seasons.

Jorge Soler (DH, Giants)

3 years, $42,000,000

Soler declined a $9M player option with Miami for the 2024 season, instead locking in $42M through 2026, including $16M for the upcoming campaign ($9M signing bonus, $7M salary). The barely 32-year-old should have plenty of home run swings left in the tank even after this deal expires.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (OF, Diamondbacks)

3 years, $42,000,000

Gurriel rejoins Arizona on a $42M guarantee that consists of $37M through the 2026 season, plus a $5M buyout on a $14M club option. This makes this deal a 4 year, $51M contract for max purposes, but a player opt-out opportunity after 2025 also leaves the possibility for a 2 year, $24M scenario as well.

Lucas Giolito (SP, Red Sox)

2 years, $38,500,000

After bouncing around a bit the past 2 seasons, Giolio was looking to secure his career in Boston, potentially as a top of the rotation place setter. Those hopes were quickly dashed when the 29-year-old suffered an elbow injury that required immediate surgery. Contractually, this is a 2 year, $37M contract plus a $1.5M buyout on a $14M vesting option in 2026. Giolito had also secured a player opt-out after the 2024 season, but that now seems highly unlikely.

Marcus Stroman (SP, Yankees)

2 years, $37,000,000

Stroman’s stock dipped down the stretch in 2023, leaving many to believe that he’d opt-in to a $21M salary with the Cubs for 2024. He declined it, securing at least $37M over the next 2 seasons. If he pitches 140 innings this upcoming season, an $18M player option will be tacked on for 2026.

Rhys Hoskins (1B, Brewers)

2 years, $34,000,000

An ACL tear early on in 2023 devastated what was building up to be a really nice first run into free agency for Hoskins. He instead opts for an identical salary to his 2023 payout ($12M), with the ability to control his destiny thereafter. This is a 1 year, $12M contract out of the gate, a 2 year, $34M contract if he opts-in, with the potential for a 3 year, $48M deal if both sides agree to run this thing all the way out.

Robert Stephenson (RP, Angels)

3 years, $33,000,000

Stephenson has been inconsistent at best over 8 MLB seasons, but the Angels are (clearly) banking on him to settle in as a late game (possible closer) reliever for the foreseeable future. The 31-year-old will secure $11M in each of the next 3 seasons.

Michael Wacha (SP, Royals)

2 years, $32,000,000

Wacha declined a 2 year, $32M option in San Diego for a 2 year, $32M contract in Kansas City. Maybe the nice weather was too boring for him? The 32-year-old can opt-out after 1 year, $16M.

Reynaldo López (SP, Braves)

3 years, $30,000,000

Despite 18 starts over the past 4 seasons in Chicago/Cleveland, Atlanta brought in Lopez to compete for their 5th rotation spot. The $30M guarantee consists of $26M through 2026, plus a $4M buyout on a club option in 2027. The contract can max out at 4 years, $34M.

Sean Manaea (SP, Mets)

2 years, $28,000,000

Manaea declined a $12.5M option in San Francisco to secure a multi-year guarantee this winter. He’ll earn $14.5M for the upcoming season in New York, then can opt-out of the final 1 year, $13.5M if he wishes. 

Nick Martinez (SP, Reds)

2 years, $26,000,000

Martinez has been a hybrid pitcher for the better part of 6 seasons, now making 9 starts but 63 total appearances with San Diego last year. He declined a 2 year, $32M player option with the Padres this past winter, but couldn’t find stronger value on the open market. A good 2024 in Cincinnati will give him a chance to opt-out after 1 year, $14M, and reset his financial value.

Jordan Montgomery (SP, Diamondbacks)

1 year, $25,000,000

Better late than never. After much deliberation, Montgomery joined the defending runner-up D-Backs on a 1 year, $25M guarantee that vest to 2 years, $50M in total through 2025. If he posts 10 starts in 2024, Montgomery will have the ability to opt-out of the contract and hit the open market again next winter. If he decides to hang around, the 2025 salary is conditioned as follows: $20M with 10-17 starts this season, $22.5M with 18-22 starts this season, $25M with 23+ starts this season.