These 13 can choose to be free agents this offseason

August 27th, 2023

While free agency will dominate the conversation for most of the offseason, the first week following the World Series will bring about several important decisions that will help shape rosters for 2024.

More than 30 players have club options for next season, leaving their futures in the hands of their respective teams. But a handful of others possess either opt-out clauses or player options, giving them final say on whether they will test the open market this winter or remain with their teams going forward. takes a look at eight players who can opt out of their contracts at the end of the season, plus five others with player options in their respective deals.

Opt-out clauses

Javier Báez, SS, Tigers
Remaining contract: 4 years, $98 million

Báez’s first two years in Detroit have been disastrous, as the 30-year-old has posted a .637 OPS in 258 games. He signed a six-year, $140 million deal prior to the 2022 season, with an opt-out after this season. But given his performance, there is no chance Báez -- who has eight home runs and a .593 OPS this season -- opts out of his contract.

Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Tigers
Remaining contract: 3 years, $49 million

Unlike his Tigers teammate, Rodriguez is having a solid year as he approaches his opt-out. The left-hander signed a five-year, $77 million contract before the 2022 campaign, and while personal issues limited him to 17 starts last season, he’s 9-6 with a 3.03 ERA in 19 starts in 2023, setting him up to opt out and score a bigger deal this winter.

Marcus Stroman, RHP, Cubs
Remaining contract: 1 year, $21 million

Only two months ago, it seemed like a lock that Stroman would opt out of the final year of his three-year, $71 million contract, as he was 9-4 with a 2.28 ERA in 16 starts. But after posting a 7.00 ERA over his next seven outings, hip and rib cage injuries have kept him on the injured list since July 31. If Stroman can’t return this season, he could very well opt in for the final year of his deal.

Michael Conforto, OF, Giants
Remaining contract: 1 year, $18 million

Conforto’s opt-out clause kicked in once he hit 350 plate appearances, which the 30-year-old did with ease this season. His production has been solid but not spectacular, as he's hit 15 home runs with a .748 OPS in 111 games. With a relatively weak group of free-agent outfielders, he could opt out in order to seek a multi-year deal.

Josh Bell, 1B, Marlins
Remaining contract: 1 year, $16.5 million

Bell had an underwhelming four months in Cleveland this season. But the first baseman has thrived since being traded to Miami, hitting seven home runs with a .947 OPS in 21 games. A strong finish for the 31-year-old could prompt him to opt out and test the market in search of a multi-year deal.

Sean Manaea, LHP, Giants
Remaining contract: 1 year, $12.5 million

Removed from San Francisco’s rotation in mid-May, Manaea has been working out of the bullpen with mixed results in 24 appearances. His uneven season makes it unlikely that he will opt out of his $12.5 million salary for 2024.

Ross Stripling, RHP, Giants
Remaining contract: 1 year, $12.5 million

Like Manaea, Stripling hasn’t found much success with San Francisco, posting a 5.29 ERA in 19 outings (11 starts) prior to landing on the injured list with a back strain. He’s due the same $12.5 million salary as Manaea, making it unlikely that he decides to opt out and test the market.

Jorge Soler, OF/DH, Marlins
Remaining contract: 1 year, $12 million

The first year of Soler’s three-year, $36 million deal with the Marlins didn’t go well, as he hit 13 homers with a .695 OPS in just 72 games. But the 2021 World Series MVP has rebounded in a big way this season, belting 33 home runs with an .824 OPS in 122 games while making the first All-Star team of his career. Given his relatively modest salary for 2024, he is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract.

Player options

Justin Turner, INF, Red Sox
Option: $13.4 million ($6.7 million buyout)

Turner signed a two-year deal worth nearly $22 million guaranteed last offseason, with an $8.3 million salary in 2023 and a player option for $13.4 million in 2024. But the $6.7 million buyout on the option means he's guaranteed $15 million before even stepping on to the field next season. Given the 38-year-old’s solid production -- he had 20 home runs, 82 RBIs and an .834 OPS entering the weekend -- all he would have to do is secure a deal worth more than $6.7 million to increase his earnings. A return to Boston isn’t out of the question, but it would likely be on a new contract.

Andrew Heaney, LHP, Rangers
Option: 1 year, $13 million ($500,000 buyout)

Heaney’s option actually increases to $20 million if he reaches the 150-inning threshold and finishes the season without a significant injury. The left-hander has thrown 122 1/3 innings in 25 starts this season, so he needs 27 2/3 more before the end of the year to boost the option by $7 million. Heaney has had some solid moments in his first year with Texas -- but six of his seven quality starts came in April and May, while he’s pitched to a 4.81 ERA since June 1. It would be surprising if he didn’t exercise the option for 2024.

Hector Neris, RHP, Astros
Option: 1 year, $8.5 million ($1 million buyout) 

Neris signed a two-year, $17 million deal with Houston prior to the 2022 season, one which included a team option for $8.5 million for 2024. That became a player option after the right-hander made his 110th appearance for the club, which he did in July. Neris, who had significant closing experience with the Phillies from 2017-21, has been outstanding for the Astros this year, posting a 2.05 ERA in 56 appearances. Should Neris finish this season on the injured list, the option would revert to a club option. But if Neris retains control over the decision, he is likely to decline it and seek a multi-year deal on the open market.

Seth Lugo, RHP, Padres
Option: 1 year, $7.5 million

Entering 2023, Lugo hadn’t started a game since 2020 and had made only 12 starts since the beginning of the 2018 season, compared to 227 relief appearances. Yet, the 33-year-old has started 20 games for the Padres this season, already earning $750,000 in performance bonuses. Given that Lugo landed a $7.5 million deal with no recent track record as a starter, his work this season -- he has a 3.70 ERA in 109 1/3 innings, tossing six-plus innings with two-or-fewer runs in 12 of his 20 outings -- should allow him to exceed $7.5 million on the open market.

Matt Carpenter, DH/1B, Padres
Option: 1 year, $5.5 million

It was something of a surprise that the Padres kept Carpenter on the roster after the Trade Deadline, following San Diego's acquisition of Ji Man Choi and Garrett Cooper. Yet, he remains a member of the club despite not seeing a single at-bat from July 25 through Aug. 14. Carpenter, who rejuvenated his career with the Yankees in 2022, hit just .173 with four home runs, 27 RBIs and a .614 OPS in 191 plate appearances prior to the All-Star break, but he’s had only 19 plate appearances in the second half. It seems unlikely that the Padres will keep Carpenter on the roster heading into his age-38 season, but the $5.5 million is guaranteed whether San Diego releases him or decides to give him another shot.