Four MLB Free Agents That Could Still Impact Futures Odds Markets

Full MLB squads are reporting for workouts in Florida and Arizona as spring training games officially get underway on Thursday when the Los Angeles Dodgers square off with the San Diego Padres at Peoria Stadium, but several marquee free agents still remain unsigned despite the regular season being right around the corner.

Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, Matt Chapman, and Cody Bellinger – who are all represented by MLB super agent Scott Boras – are still without contracts as of Wednesday morning, and all four players can impact futures odds markets, especially if they decide to sign with World Series contenders.

Boras, who has built a longstanding reputation as a shrewd negotiator, is locked into a high-stakes waiting game with interested general managers around the league as he seemingly won’t budge off his demands for top dollar for his clients. Time is running out, though, especially for starting pitchers who typically need several weeks throughout the spring to build up their stamina ahead of the regular season.

General managers around the league are countering Boras by publicly posturing their positions on signing any of the remaining top free agents. Texas Rangers general manager Chris Young recently said he “doesn’t think there are any additions coming at this point” for his team. Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins also said that “additions that would be of significance would mean some level of subtraction” for his team. And San Francisco Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi also went on the record stating, “It’s a little bit more disruptive to add at this point. And, you know, anybody who’s a free agent, we’ve theoretically had 3 1/2 months to figure out a deal and if it hasn’t happened yet, at some point organizationally, you just need to turn the page and focus on the players you have.”

So what we’re left with is a good old-fashioned standoff between Boras and interested parties, but that hasn’t stopped oddsmakers, including bet365, from releasing their full array of futures odds markets despite not knowing where a handful of premium free agents will land.

Blake Snell

Snell was outstanding last season for the San Diego Padres, pitching to a 14-9 record with 234 strikeouts in 180 innings of work to claim his second career Cy Young Award. He led the majors in several statistical categories including ERA (2.25), H/9 (5.8), ERA+ (182), and he finished first in the National League in pitching WAR (6.0).

Back in October, The Athletic’s MLB prognosticator Jim Bowden projected Snell would earn a five-year deal worth roughly $122 million. He also said some teams were skeptical about signing him to a long-term pact because of his injury history. Snell has only pitched 180 innings or more twice in his eight-year career, and six times he’s thrown 130 innings or less.

The New York Yankees, who have +1000 odds to win the World Series at bet365 after trading for slugger Juan Soto earlier this offseason, have reportedly made a formal offer to the left-hander. However, the Los Angeles Angels and Giants are also believed to still be in the mix. Should Snell sign with the Yankees to complement reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole, the team’s futures odds could shorten again to +900 or maybe even +800.

New York Yankees to win World Series


Jordan Montgomery

The big lefty significantly raised his value on the open market with an outstanding 2023 campaign in which he posted a 3.20 ERA in 32 starts between the St. Louis Cardinals and Rangers. Montgomery was traded to the Rangers last July and he responded by finishing the regular season by going 4-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 11 starts. He was a key cog in the franchise’s World Series run and brilliant in the AL Championship Series, when he picked up a couple of wins with a 1.29 ERA over three appearances.

Bowden projected a deal somewhere around five years and $127 million for the 30-year-old southpaw in free agency, and his market is believed to still be robust with the Boston Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers, Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, and Baltimore Orioles as possible landing spots. Montgomery’s wife is doing a dermatology residency at a Boston hospital, so many believe the Red Sox are a logical landing spot for him. However, team executives have been watching their pennies this offseason after retracting their earlier statement that the team would be “full throttle” in an attempt to vault the team back into contention after several subpar seasons.

A reunion in The Bronx is also possible for Montgomery after he pitched six seasons for the club between 2017-2022. Although it’s probably unlikely that New York signs both Snell and Montgomery. They are the Yankees, though, and they can never be counted out to make big, expensive splashes in free agency.

Boston Red Sox to make playoffs: No


Matt Chapman

Chapman claimed his fourth Gold Glove Award at third base with the Blue Jays last season, but teams may be wary of signing the 30-year-old after his production dropped off at the plate during the second half. He posted a .197/.256/.276 slash line in August and followed it up with a line of .167/.262/.379 in September. He’s a proven power hitter, though, belting 155 homers across seven seasons.

A reunion with the Blue Jays seems logical here if the two sides can agree on financials, which they clearly haven’t to this point because Chapman is still on the market. Toronto has a glaring hole at third base with Isiah Kiner-Falefa currently slotted in as the likely starter on the team’s depth chart. The Jays likely would rather utilize the versatile Kiner-Falefa in a utility role rather than deploy him as the everyday third baseman. Cavan Biggio, Santiago Espinal, Justin Turner, and Davis Schneider also aren’t poised to assume an everyday role at the hot corner for various reasons.

Bowden projected Chapman could command a five-year deal worth roughly $130 million earlier this offseason and the Seattle Mariners, Giants, and Jays appear to have the inside track on signing him.

Toronto Blue Jays to win AL East


Cody Bellinger

Bellinger resurrected his career with the Chicago Cubs last year, returning to the form that helped him win the NL MVP Award in 2019. He slashed .307/.356/.525 with 29 doubles, 26 home runs, 95 runs scored, and 97 RBIs while stealing 20 bases in 26 attempts to earn the 2023 Comeback Player of the Year distinction in the NL.

Bellinger can play first base and all three outfield positions, which makes him a huge asset to the club that signs him. However, he does have a documented right shoulder problem (non-throwing arm) that caused him to miss significant time during the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

He’s projected to earn a deal around six years and $144 million, although that number was reportedly higher above $200 million at the onset of free agency. The Blue Jays, Cubs, and Giants are believed to still be in the running for his services. Chicago, which has +230 odds to win the NL Central Division behind the Cardinals (+130), has the most to gain from retaining his services.

Chicago Cubs to win NL Central Division