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New faces, new places: Ohtani, Soto headline MLB players with new teams in 2024

PHOENIX (AP) — Shohei Ohtani's 31-mile journey north on Interstate 5 during free agency was the highlight of Major League Baseball's offseason, even if recent off-the-field developments have clouded his first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

But the Japanese superstar will be far from the only All-Star-caliber player in a new uniform when MLB's regular season opens Thursday for 28 of 30 teams. The Dodgers and San Diego Padres got the season started last week in Seoul, South Korea, with the teams splitting a two-game series.

Young slugger Juan Soto was dealt to the New York Yankees while the Baltimore Orioles added hard-throwing righty Corbin Burnes as they try to win back-to-back titles in the AL East.

The San Francisco Giants made several moves — including a few recent ones — adding four-time Gold Glove third baseman Matt Chapman and two-time Cy Young winner Blake Snell.

Here's a look at some of the biggest names who will be playing for new teams in 2024.

Shohei Ohtani, Dodgers

The two-way star is just a hitter in 2024 after elbow surgery, but Ohtani's move to the Dodgers on a $700 million, 10-year contract was still one of the biggest moves in several years. Ohtani, 29, was brilliant during spring training with a .500 batting average and two homers, and he started the regular season with three hits in 10 at-bats in Korea. Ohtani's first season hit turbulence recently when his translator Ippei Mizuhara was fired by the Dodgers last week amid accusations of gambling and theft, but big things are still expected.

Juan Soto, Yankees

Soto seems like he's been around forever, but he's just 25. After being dealt from the Padres to the Yankees, the three-time All-Star could form a power-hitting juggernaut in the Bronx when paired with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. He's coming off a 35-homer season with the Padres last season.

Blake Snell, Giants

The Scott Boras client finally signed with the Giants last week on a $62 million, two-year contract, potentially giving San Francisco a bonafide ace as it competes in the NL West with the Padres, Dodgers and Diamondbacks. Snell has never thrown more than 181 innings in a season, but he's dominant when he's on the mound. He won his second Cy Young in 2023 with the Padres, striking out 234 and giving up just 115 hits in 180 innings.

Corbin Burnes, Orioles

The 2021 NL Cy Young winner has been among the game's most dominant pitchers the past three seasons while playing for the Brewers. Milwaukee dealt him to the Orioles on Feb. 1 in exchange for a package of prospects. The 29-year-old Burnes has struck out at least 200 batters in each of the past three seasons.

Josh Hader, Astros

Houston bulked up the back end of its bullpen by signing the five-time All-Star in January. Hader's been one of the most dominant relievers in the game since he debuted with the Brewers in 2017, striking out an incredible 648 batters over 388 2/3 career innings. The Astros already had a very good closer in Ryan Pressly, who now moves to a setup role.

Sonny Gray, Cardinals

The rebuilding Cardinals signed Gray on a $75 million, three-year deal, hoping that the right-hander can help solidfy a rotation that was a sore spot last season. The 34-year-old Gray will start the season on the injured list because of a hamstring ailment, but the Cardinals hope he eventually provides a season like 2023, when he had a 2.79 ERA over 32 starts with the Twins.

Matt Chapman, Giants

Chapman's been one of the best defensive third baseman in baseball over the past seven years with the A's and Blue Jays. Now he moves to the Giants on a $54 million, three-year deal, where he's reunited with former manager Bob Melvin. Chapman's defense is the headliner, but he can also provide significant power and had a career-high 36 homers with Oakland in 2019.

Chris Sale, Braves

The seven-time All-Star hasn't been able to stay healthy since 2018, but the Braves rolled the dice by acquiring the left-hander in a trade with the Red Sox during the offseason. Sale had some good moments in 2023 and had 125 strikeouts in 102 2/3 innings.

Eduardo Rodriguez, Diamondbacks

The D-backs — fresh off their surprise run to the World Series in 2023 — signed the lefty on an $80 million, four-year deal during the offseason. He'll start the season on the injured list with a strained muscle in his left side, but the D-backs hope he can return quickly and provide a solid presence in the No. 3 spot in the rotation behind Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly.

Rhys Hoskins, Brewers

The 31-year-old Hoskins was a consistent slugger for the Phillies from 2017-22 but missed the 2023 season because of a knee injury suffered in a spring training. The Phillies decided to move Bryce Harper to first base during the offseason, which made Hoskins expendale, and he signed with the Brewers. The right-hander has hit 148 homers over six big-league seasons.

Kenta Maeda, Tigers

The 35-year-old missed the entire 2022 season after Tommy John but bounced back in 2023 with solid work over 20 starts. The Tigers saw enough from the righty to invest $24 million over two years. Maeda finished second in AL Cy Young voting for the Twins during the shortened 2020 season.

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