As the Yankees continue to shop for starting pitchers on the market, they have reportedly made an opening offer for Blake Snell according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post. The left-hander was one of the best pitchers in baseball this past season, leading all of baseball in ERA (2.25) with 234 strikeouts across an even 180 innings pitched, winning the National League Cy Young. Reports have come out about their interest in Blake Snell over the recent weeks, but there are reasonable concerns about his durability and long-term viability.
That being said, Heyman also reports that they are not close on Blake Snell; and that remains true for their trade talks on Dylan Cease, who the White Sox demand a high price for on the trade front. With the pitching market stalling, could the Yankees break the ice in the coming days?
Yankees Casting Wide Net of Interest On Pitching Market
Blake Snell is one of the best pitchers in baseball, but there are a lot of questions about how reliable he’ll be on a year-to-year basis. On one hand, Blake Snell has a career 3.20 ERA with a 29.7% strikeout rate in 191 starts, but on another, he has only recorded 30 or more starts twice in his MLB career. His injuries aren’t the most concerning, as he’s had stints on the Injured Lists for reasons that don’t have long-term impact on your durability including COVID and injuring himself with a piece of furniture.
He’s a dominant left-hander who has the ace upside that the organization greatly desires, but whether the Yankees will end up coming close enough to his asking price to make a deal remains to be seen. Making a six-year offer north orf $25 million a season could create financial complications for the front office with his impending free agency. There’s also the inherit risk of rostering three different pitchers in Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon, and Blake Snell who are north of 30 years old and make north of $20 million a year.
Perhaps the Yankees could float a deal that gives them an out early in the contract with a high average annual salary, a concept floated out by Christ Cotillo of MassLive.com earlier this winter. Snell could take a three-year deal and opt-out after the 2024 season, but can he raise his stock more than he did this past season? From his perspective, he just won a Cy Young Award and finished with the best ERA in baseball; what else could teams really ask for?
Pitching has clearly taken centerstage on the Yankees’ priority list, and for good reason, as they depleted their MLB pitching depth in the deal for Juan Soto. Losing Michael King, Jhony Brito, and Randy Vasquez meant losing north of 250 innings at a sub-4 ERA, which would be a blow to any depth chart. Furthermore, injury concerns regarding Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes would further incentivize the team to go out and make notable additions in free agency, and the Yankees have delved into he depth market as they await for the top of the market to shift a bit.
Luke Weaver, who posted a 3.38 ERA in three starts with the Yankees to end the season in 2023, has returned on a one-year deal a $2 million, with plenty of incentives and even a club option for 2024. They seem to really like his profile and likely believe that he can make an impact as a depth starter or swingman in their pitching staff. An increase in cutter usage could hint at what they could tweak in 2024, and they’ve been linked to other starters as well.
Jordan Montgomery and Marcus Stroman could be targets in free agency, and trade targets like Dylan Cease, Shane Bieber, and Edward Cabrera could catch the Yankees’ eyes as well. It remains to be seen what exactly the Yankees will do to address their rotation, but it doesn’t seem like they’ll be content without a notable upgrade to their rotation.