Will Yankees cave into Blake Snell’s waiting game?
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The reigning Cy Young King, Blake Snell, remains the crown jewel of the free agent pitching market. Despite flirtations with various teams, he hasn’t signed on the dotted line, leaving everyone guessing at his next destination.
Snell’s stock sits high as the most coveted arm available. While insider Jon Heyman reports the lefty isn’t in any rush to settle, comparisons are drawn to Bryce Harper’s deliberate 2019 free agency, which ultimately landed him a record-breaking13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies.
Though not expecting a similar historical contract, Heyman predicts a hefty pay raise for Snell. His patient approach, combined with his recent well-received appearance at the baseball writers’ dinner, speaks volumes about his calculated strategy.
Of course, Snell is represented by the legendary Scott Boras, known for maximizing client contracts through market timing. As negotiations unfold, Snell remains a picture of composure.
One interesting turn: Snell and Boras declined the Yankees’ offer, leading them to settle for Marcus Stroman. Heyman hints the Yankees were willing to offer more than they did for Carlos Rodon, suggesting Snell’s desired annual salary might exceed $30 million.
So, will Snell’s patience land him a Harper-esque payday, or will he settle for a “mere” king’s ransom? With each passing day, the baseball world holds its breath, waiting to see where the Cy Young champion will pitch next.
Yankees Prioritize Value in Snell Snub, Sign Stroman
When reigning Cy Young winner Blake Snell spurned the Yankees’ offer, their free-agent strategy pivoted towards the more budget-friendly Marcus Stroman. While Snell desired a whopping $270 million over nine years, averaging $30 million annually until his age-40 season, GM Brian Cashman deemed it excessive.
Snell’s limited track record, with just two seasons exceeding 130 innings (including his 2023 Cy Young campaign), raised concerns about his long-term durability. The Yankees weren’t convinced he could sustain his peak performance, especially as he enters his late 20s.
Instead, they prioritized financial prudence, signing Stroman to a two-year, $37 million deal. This contract includes a vesting option for 2026 and a player option for 2025 tied to Stroman pitching at least 140 innings.
While Stroman’s Cy Young credentials don’t match Snell’s, his consistent innings volume and injury-free history were attractive to the Yankees. They believe his two-year deal offers greater value and aligns with their long-term financial goals.
Of course, the success of this decision hinges on Stroman’s performance. If he replicates his past consistency and durability, the Yankees might have landed a bargain. However, if Snell’s Cy Young form translates into sustained excellence, the Yankees could be left wondering what might have been. Only time will tell which team made the wiser move.
Boone Backs Stroman: “Age Just a Number” for Veteran Arm
Yankees manager Aaron Boone is brimming with excitement about the addition of Marcus Stroman, praising the veteran pitcher’s experience and consistent track record.
Boone values Stroman’s reliability and longevity, lauding his dedication to training and conditioning, which he believes will keep him at his peak for years to come. While Stroman’s age (31 or 32) might raise eyebrows, Boone remains confident in his abilities.
However, a caveat exists. Stroman’s 2023 season was marred by a hip injury, particularly in the second half, leading to a noticeable decline. Pre-All-Star break, he dazzled with a 2.96 ERA in 112.2 innings, boasting impressive strikeout rates and minimizing home runs. But after the break, the injury’s impact became evident with a concerning 8.63 ERA over 24 innings.
Despite this late-season regression, Stroman finished with a respectable 3.95 ERA across 136.2 innings. His ability to induce weak contact and generate ground balls aligns well with Yankee Stadium’s dimensions, offering Boone optimism.
The question remains: can Stroman bounce back from the injury and recapture his pre-All-Star form? Boone believes his veteran experience and commitment to his craft will be crucial in answering that question. Only time will tell if the Yankees’ gamble on Stroman pays off, but Boone’s enthusiasm suggests he’s confident in the veteran pitcher’s ability to contribute significantly.
Stroman: Durability, Drive, and Big Apple Pressure
Marcus Stroman arrives in the Bronx with a reputation for reliability, boasting seven straight seasons exceeding 100 innings pitched. This durability adds a much-needed element of consistency to the Yankees’ mid-rotation.
But it’s not just statistics that drew Stroman to pinstripes. He actively sought this opportunity, driven by a burning desire to compete at the highest level with a storied franchise. The Yankees’ intense pressure and sky-high expectations are well-known, but Stroman embraces the challenge, vowing to rise above them.
Manager Aaron Boone recognizes Stroman’s enthusiasm and believes he thrives in pressure-cooker environments. Boone envisions him making a major contribution, especially if he can consistently log 30+ starts, a critical factor with the Yankees’ potent offense behind him.
While Stroman’s pre-All-Star 2023 performance suggests brilliance, questions linger about his post-injury decline. Can he recapture his peak form and deliver on the Yankees’ high expectations? Stroman’s durability, combined with his ambition and Boone’s confidence, paints a promising picture. However, it’s on the field where he must ultimately prove his mettle and silence any doubters.
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