Are the Yankees still chasing Blake Snell despite steep salary demand?
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Despite the reported rejection of the Yankees offer by Blake Snell, the pitcher remains a hot target for the team. While Yoshinobu Yamamoto opted for the Dodgers and Dylan Cease from the White Sox comes with a steep prospect cost, the Yankees, in their quest for another elite pitcher alongside Gerrit Cole, are exploring the intriguing free agent option presented by Blake Snell.
Will Blake Snell’s hefty price tag dissuade the Yankees?
The Yankees’ ambitious offseason strides forward, even as their projected payroll surpasses $300 million. Despite substantial additions like Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo to their lineup, coupled with strengthening the rotation through Marcus Stroman, the pursuit of World Series glory persists, and Blake Snell, the reigning NL Cy Young winner, emerges as a potential target.
Blake Snell stands out as the premier free agent starter, and there is mutual interest between him and the Yankees. However, signing him entails a potential gamble.
On paper, Blake Snell appears to be an ideal fit. His stellar 2023 season with the Padres, boasting a 14-9 record, MLB-best 2.25 ERA, and an impressive array of pitches resulting in a career-high 234 strikeouts, showcases his dominance. Advanced statistics further underline his elite status, with whiff and strikeout percentages ranking among the league’s best.
Yet, there’s a flip side. Blake Snell carries a reputation for inconsistency and occasional bouts of wildness. The financial concerns stemming from his substantial contract, when added to an already inflated payroll, raise questions. The Yankees face the challenge of balancing potential rewards against inherent risks.
Will they take the plunge and pursue Blake Snell to fortify their rotation, or will they explore alternative routes to fulfill their championship aspirations? The ongoing offseason drama for the Yankees unfolds with these pivotal decisions on the horizon.
Blake Snell may be a high-risk, high-reward Move
While Blake Snell’s 2023 stats boast a sparkling ERA and strikeout dominance, his walk-prone profile and inability to pitch deep raise potential red flags for the Yankees. A league-worst 99 walks and a sky-high walk percentage raise concerns about his sustainability.
While a stellar 86.7% strand rate mitigated the damage in 2023, relying on such good fortune may backfire. Blake Snell’s rapid pitch count limits him to short outings, raising the burden on the Yankees’ already-stressed bullpen. Fortunately, Stroman’s acquisition balances this by providing the long innings he lacks.
Blake Snell’s fly-ball tendency might be exacerbated by the short porch in the Bronx, potentially leading to more home runs. His past experience pitching in Yankee Stadium as an opponent could help him adjust.
The upside allure and high stakes
Signing Blake Snell is a calculated gamble – potentially rewarding with his Cy Young-caliber upside, but risky considering his injury history and inconsistency. Adding him to a rotation already relying on Rodon and Cortes’ peak performance carries inherent risk.
Blake Snell’s potential makes him the most exciting option in the rotation, offering a devastating duo alongside Gerrit Cole. Coaching by Matt Blake could help him reach his full potential.
But a $200 million+ contract for Blake Snell adds financial pressure, especially with Juan Soto’s extension looming. However, the Yankees, as baseball’s wealthiest franchise, have the resources to take such a risk.
Signing him represents an aggressive push for the 2024 title, even with its inherent downsides. For the Yankees, the allure of a championship might ultimately outweigh the potential pitfalls.
Demand for big money justified
Blake Snell isn’t just an ordinary free-agent pitcher; he stands as a rare commodity, being a two-time Cy Young Award winner and belonging to an exclusive group of only 11 players who have reached free agency after achieving this accolade. In a market where unproven talents command significant sums, such as Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s $325 million deal, Snell is expected to secure a substantial payday.
Amidst widespread pitching needs across teams, Blake Snell emerges as the unquestionable best remaining option. While his early struggles in 2023 might raise concerns, his subsequent transformation—14 wins, 234 strikeouts, and an impressive 2.25 ERA in 180 innings—speaks volumes about his capabilities.
Drawing a comparison to the Yankees’ current ace, Gerrit Cole, adds context to Snell’s appeal: Cole had one more win and a slightly higher ERA while averaging more innings per start. Although both are top-tier talents, Snell’s potential on a short-term deal makes him uniquely attractive.
The Yankees have a history of making significant pitching investments, from CC Sabathia‘s $160 million contract to the recent acquisition of Carlos Rodón. Sabathia delivered a championship season, while Rodon’s injury-plagued tenure serves as a cautionary tale.
Blake Snell has overcome past elbow surgery and emerged as the best in the NL. He showcased a Cy Young-caliber season despite playing for a .500 Padres team, mirroring Cole’s performance for the Yankees. Now, the question confronting Brian Cashman is clear: are the Bronx Bombers willing to take another calculated risk on a proven winner, or will they let the opportunity to secure Snell slip through their fingers?
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