Yankees’ interest in NL Cy Young award-winner could peak with new contract demands

mlb: miami marlins at san diego padres, blake snell, yankees
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At this point in the 2023 off-season, the New York Yankees were already dealing with a number of significant injuries in the starting rotation. Fortunately, they have been relatively healthy over the past few weeks as they continue to ramp up ahead of the 2024 campaign.

While Carlos Rodon has had some ups and downs throughout his process, giving up a few home runs over his last two outings, spring training is meant to shake off the rust. The expectation is that Rodon will be in a good spot once the regular season rolls around, promoting a much more efficient version of the pitcher the Yankees acquired on a six-year, $162-million deal last off-season.

The Yankees Could Re-Engage With Blake Snell

However, with spring training progressing and plenty of time left for things to change, the Yankees could turn their attention back to Blake Snell.

The 2023 NL Cy Young award winner has reportedly changed his contract demands, notably because a long-term deal likely won’t come falling on his desk. Instead, a short-term deal with opt-outs could be an option for Snell, and the Yankees may be willing to bite if the deal makes sense.

“Star free agent Jordan Montgomery still seeks a long deal while reigning (National League) Cy Young winner Blake Snell is fine doing a short-term deal with opt-outs,” Jon Heyman said.

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Compromising on a Realistic Contract

Snell reportedly wanted a deal in the range of $270 million over nine years several weeks ago, but that expectation has now dwindled to a fraction of that proposed contract. The Yankees offered him a five-year deal in the range of $150 million, but they quickly pivoted to Marcus Stroman when Snell came back with outrageous demands.

Obviously, he would make the rotation significantly better. The 31-year-old tossed 180 innings last season, collecting a 2.25 ERA, 11.70 strikeouts per nine, an 86.7% left-on-base rate, and a 44.4% ground ball rate. He has had some issues with longevity, having only pitched over 130 innings twice in his eight-year career. Nonetheless, he would certainly be the last puzzle piece to a roster that is eyeing a World Series this upcoming season.

For now, general manager Brian Cashman seems fine riding his current rotation into the season. Still, if any injuries or issues arise, he may have to consider Snell as a realistic addition, even if they have to pay the 110% luxury tax.

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