Yankees on verge of missing out on Blake Snell as Astros emerge as serious suitors

Blake Snell, player of the new york yankees

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Blake Snell is becoming increasingly distant from the Yankees. According to The Athletic, the Astros are facing several issues surrounding the health of their pitching rotation and are now in “serious pursuit” of Blake Snell.

Was Blake Snell a real thing for the Yankees?

Blake Snell, player of the new york yankees
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Recent reports had indicated ongoing interest from the Yankees in free agent pitcher Blake Snell. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com had mentioned that the Yankees had extended an offer to Snell, although he noted that the Angels and Giants remained in the mix as well. Despite this offer, Andy Martino of SNY had tempered expectations, suggesting that progress toward a deal was currently stagnant.

Now, with news emerging that the Astros were pursuing Blake Snell, it appeared Martino’s assessment may have held weight.

Adding to the conversation, Brendan Kuty and Chris Kirschner of The Athletic had reported that the Yankees had presented Blake Snell with an offer lacking opt-out clauses. This offer had preceded the signing of Marcus Stroman. Previously, in January, the Yankees had offered Blake Snell a six-year, $150 million deal, but Blake Snell had sought either a longer contract or one with an average annual value exceeding $30 million.

Initial projections from MLBTR had suggested Blake Snell could secure a seven-year, $200 million deal. However, his extended availability in the market had led to speculation that he might consider shorter contracts, an idea that had recently been explored by MLBTR.

This situation had posed challenges for the Yankees. For instance, offering Blake Snell a short-term deal with a $40 million salary would have incurred $44 million in taxes, resulting in an effective $84 million expenditure for the team that year alone.

Blake Snell had found himself in a delicate position. While undeniably talented—he had clinched a Cy Young Award last year with a 2.25 ERA pitching for the Padres—his track record had included periods of inconsistency. Between his Cy Young victories in 2019 and 2022, he had posted a 3.85 ERA and failed to exceed 130 innings pitched in any season. Despite his impressive performance last year, Snell had grappled with a high walk rate and benefited from favorable statistics like a .256 batting average on balls in play and an 86.7% strand rate.

The Yankees had boasted a formidable rotation on paper, featuring Carlos Rodon, Stroman, Nestor Cortes, and Clarke Schmidt. However, the durability concerns of Rodon, Stroman, and Cortes, along with the reduction in pitching depth from the Juan Soto trade, had underscored the potential value of signing Snell or another starter. Such a move would have allowed Schmidt to slide down the depth chart to sixth and potentially spend time in the minors, given his remaining option.

Astros look to boost their roster with Blake Snell

At this point, it’s not clear if any sort of deal is imminent, but it’s a noteworthy development and resembles some previous developments for the Astros. In January, the bullpen took a hit when Kendall Graveman needed shoulder surgery that ended his season. Astros general manager Dana Brown initially downplayed the club’s desire to go out and sign free agents to address the issue, but the club signed closer Josh Hader a few days later.

In the two months since, much has changed in the rotation. The Astros already knew that Lance McCullers Jr. and Luis García Jr. would start the year on the injured list as both underwent elbow surgeries last summer, but this spring saw a few more setbacks. Justin Verlander was hampered by right shoulder soreness, which doesn’t seem too serious but enough to delay him sufficiently to start the season on the injured list. Earlier today, José Urquidy left his start early due to right elbow discomfort.

If Urquidy needs to stay out for a while, the Opening Day rotation would project to include Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, and Hunter Brown in the top three spots. J.P. France has also been hampered by a shoulder issue this spring but seems to be perhaps on track to claim a spot at the back end of the rotation. That would still leave an open spot in the rotation, and Houston is somewhat lacking in options to fill that void.

Ronel Blanco has only 58 1/3 innings of Major League work and has recently been shifted from being a primary starter to more of a swing role. Brandon Bielak has a 4.54 ERA in his 174 1/3 innings but with uninspiring stats, including a strikeout rate of 18.9% and a walk rate of 10.1%. Shawn Dubin has only nine innings of Major League experience.

It seems the club is considering a significant expenditure in free agency to get out of this injury hole, similar to their move to grab Hader after Graveman went down. Brown again downplayed the club’s desire to add pitchers, including Snell, though this was before Urquidy’s injury arose.

Some may question if Blake Snell is ready to help a club like the Astros since he hasn’t been playing in official spring games and Opening Day is less than two weeks away. Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports that Snell recently threw 60 pitches over four simulated innings to try to prepare outside of official Spring Training games. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports the same information, adding that scouts from the Giants and Astros were present and impressed with how ready he seems to be.

Will the Yankees make a signing move?

As previously highlighted, the Yankees find themselves in a period of adjustment as they navigate Gerrit Cole’s anticipated two-month absence and the lingering uncertainty surrounding Aaron Judge’s availability for the team’s opening fixtures. Consequently, discussions among fans have intensified. While some remain cautiously optimistic about the team’s prospects, the potential acquisition of Blake Snell, previously seen as a viable option, currently appears to be further from fruition than initially anticipated.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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2 thoughts on “Yankees on verge of missing out on Blake Snell as Astros emerge as serious suitors

  1. The Astros have a better pitching ‘gas station’. I realize Snell is a big name. Yes, he has one 2 Cy Young Awards, but is he even an average pitcher in his other 5.5 seasons? In my opinion, no. Let’s see Houston make him into a 6 inning pitcher, who makes 30 or more starts in consecutive seasons. The man has talent, but so do do many other guys whose injuries have wrecked their careers, or at least the contract they get.

  2. Your team is worth $7 billion +, last year you earned over $540 million, your ticket prices are high with TV revenues even higher. If you are truly “all in” you need to sign Snell or Montgomery. Opening day will feature Nestor on the bump and Aaron Judge likely watching from the sidelines. You know what, you are not all in. It looks like your business model is to have a few stars to draw in revenue and who cares about winning. Sell the team Hal! You just don’t belong here. You are sinking a winning tradition.

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