Yankees could nose-dive back into free agent pitching market

MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres, yankees, blake snell
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With the Yankees missing out on Corbin Burnes via the trade market, there is reason to believe they could dive headfirst back into the free-agent pool of talent. While they have refused to bend the knee to Blake Snell’s demands up to this point, it doesn’t seem as though his market is rather strong, and teams are waiting for something to shift.

Snell’s Market and Yankees’ Interest

It is possible that Snell is asking for too much, and there will be more action once his price tag is reduced. The Yankees could reengage, given the fact that the rotation is still a bit concerning.

Jon Heyman of the New York Post suggested the Yankees still have pitching woes and may decide to rekindle their interest in Snell:

“The (Los Angeles Angels) are staying in touch on Blake Snell (and Jordan Montgomery and Cody Bellinger),” Heyman said. “They like Snell, but team owner Arte Moreno hasn’t given the go-ahead. The Yankees suggested they were out once Snell declined their initial offer. But they still have rotation questions.”

Contract Negotiations and Concerns

It is fair that general manager Brian Cashman is unwilling to spend big on Snell, given he’s 31 years old and a contract of that nature may age poorly. The most recent contract desire is $270 million over nine years, way out of the Yankees’ comfort zone. Nobody wants to be paying now $30 million per season until he’s 40 years old, so any prospective contract would have to have an out, if not multiple, throughout the deal.

If the Yankees could sign him to a nine-year deal that has an out after the fourth season, that may be a reasonable move to consider, given Snell is a top pitcher coming off an elite season with the San Diego Padres.

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Evaluating Snell’s Performance and Potential

Last season, he tossed 180 innings, his highest since 2018 when he threw 180.2. He recorded a 2.25 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 11.70 strikeouts per nine, 86.7% left-on-base rate, and 44.4% ground ball rate. It is no surprise he won the NL Cy Young award last season and is looking for top dollar.

However, many are aware that Snell has longevity issues and regularly fails to pitch beyond the sixth inning, but he has 48.2 innings of postseason experience, logging a 3.33 ERA.

As long as Snell stays healthy, it seems as if his numbers continuously improve, but he’s only tossed over 130 innings twice in his career, which is a major red flag. Cashman doesn’t seem willing to part ways with some of his top prospects for pitchers like Dylan Cease, so he either has to spend money on a premium free agent or wait until the trade deadline over the summer to make an additional move.