Yankees should laugh at $270 million contract demands from top free-agent pitcher

MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres, yankees, blake snell
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The New York Yankees, mindful of their financial commitments, are wary of entering into another burdensome contract. With substantial amounts still owed to Giancarlo Stanton ($98 million in luxury tax owed through 2028), Aaron Hicks ($19 million owed over the next two seasons), and Josh Donaldson ($6 million owed in 2024), the team is treading carefully in the current market to avoid repeating past mistakes.

Cashman’s Strategic Moves and Pitching Focus

General Manager Brian Cashman has been prudent in his approach to free-agent acquisitions. His notable move this offseason was signing Marcus Stroman to a two-year, $37 million deal, avoiding long-term financial entanglements. Cashman’s strategy also involved acquiring Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo, and Trent Grisham, all of whom were arbitration-eligible.

Despite these moves, the Yankees are still in search of pitching support. Blake Snell, a notable free agent, has reportedly demanded a nine-year, $270 million contract, a figure that starkly contrasts with the Yankees’ more conservative six-year, $150 million offer. This substantial difference in valuation highlights the Yankees’ reluctance to commit to a lengthy and expensive deal.

Evaluating Blake Snell’s Long-Term Value

Snell, at 31 years old, is coming off an impressive season, but his career has been marked by inconsistency in innings pitched and a history of injuries. His demand for a nine-year contract, which would extend into his 40s, poses significant risks for any team, including the Yankees.

There’s no question that Snell has tremendous talent, but he’s pitched over 130 innings just twice in his career and recently went four consecutive seasons without pitching over 130 innings prior to 2023. He has longevity issues, struggles to pitch past the 5th inning, and has had a fair amount of injuries in the past.

The Yankees would be taking a significant gamble on him as a starter, but he could transition to the bullpen, where he might be more prominent later on in his career as age takes its toll. The truth is, nine years is too much for Snell to ask since his deal would expire in his age 40 season, something the Yankees simply do not want to carry.

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Weighing the Yankees’ Options and Future Plans

Looking ahead, the Yankees have to consider Juan Soto’s extension and may pursue stars like Corbin Burnes or Zack Wheeler next offseason. Therefore, committing a significant portion of their budget to Snell could impede their ability to make strategic moves in the future.

The Yankees might be better served by waiting for the trade deadline to acquire a player with an expiring contract, allowing them more flexibility in future free-agency decisions. Snell’s current asking price appears unrealistic, and the Yankees are unlikely to entertain it. Cashman’s focus remains on balancing immediate team needs with long-term financial sustainability.