Free Agent Profile: Blake Snell is just the seventh pitcher to win a Cy Young in both leagues

Ryley Delaney
5 months ago
Though the team’s biggest priority is adding offence to the lineup, the Blue Jays are also engaged in the market for starting pitching. 
In this series, we look at free agents who the Jays could be interested in as free agency continues. We’ve already covered 14 players, which you can find at the bottom of this article. Let’s look at 2023 National League Cy Young winner Blake Snell.

Blake Snell’s 2023:

To say that Snell had a great 2023 would be an understatement. Pitching with the San Diego Padres, the 30-year-old left-handed pitcher posted a 2.25 ERA and a 3.44 FIP in 180 innings pitched with a 31.5 K% and a 13.3 BB%. This led to Snell winning the National League Cy Young award.
However, this wasn’t the lefty’s first Cy Young award, as he won it in 2018 while with the Tampa Bay Rays. That season, he had a 1.89 ERA and a 2.94 FIP in 180.2 innings pitched, along with a 31.6 K% and a 9.1 BB%. For Snell’s career, he has a 3.20 ERA and a 3.44 FIP in 992.2 innings pitched, along with a 29.7 K% and a 10.9 BB% for a 21.4 fWAR.
Though maybe not an ace because he doesn’t go seven or eight innings during his starts, Snell is a legitimate front-of-the-rotation starter with dominant stuff. 

Blake Snell’s contract:

According to Jim Bowden’s free agent contract predictions article in The Athletic, he expects Snell to sign a five-year, $122 million deal. This would have an average annual salary of $24.4 million. MLB Trade Rumors has him making quite a bit more, seven years, $200 million, which would be about $28.5 million each season. Bowden’s suggestion is reasonable, but MLBTR’s has the potential to look ugly. 
For context, Aaron Nola was expected to sign a five-year, $125 million deal from Bowden’s article and a six-year, $150 million deal from MLB Trade Rumors. In reality, he signed a seven-year, $172 million deal with the Phillies. Add in the fact that Nola had a pretty “meh” season and has worse career numbers than Snell, and I could see Snell making a number closer or even higher than his MLB Trade Rumors estimate.

Is Blake Snell a fit for the Blue Jays:

Snell was extended a qualifying offer but promptly declined it, meaning if the Blue Jays were to sign the lefty, they’d lose a second-round draft pick in 2024. This isn’t a major concern, but it’s difficult to say if Snell would be the player the Blue Jays want to open their wallets for in free agency. 
That being said, if the Jays were to sign a high-end starter like Snell, it would allow them to free up Alek Manoah for a trade elsewhere to fill the holes that they have at third base or in the outfield. They could also consider selling high on Yusei Kikuchi, who’s signed for one more year at $12 million before he can hit free agency again. 
The big question is, do the Jays need another front-end-of-the-rotation starter? You could never go wrong with more quality pitching and Snell has a track record of success in the AL East, but allocating over $150 million to one arm who has never come close to clearing 200 innings in a season rather than looking for cheaper pitching depth is questionable.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.



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