Following his three-year stint with the San Diego Padres, pitcher Blake Snell is currently a free agent. The 2023 Cy Young winner has seen interest from multiple teams, but is yet to be signed to a roster as the 2024 MLB season quickly arrives. Of the teams offering Snell a contract, the Los Angeles Angels, San Fransisco Giants and New York Yankees have all stood out.

In his last season with the Padres, the 31-year-old had a 2.25 ERA with 234 strikeouts in 180 innings pitched to take home the Cy Young award and prove himself as one of the best players at the position. Though it was a fantastic season, Snell also won the Cy Young in 2018, in just his third year in the league with the Tampa Bay Rays.

“As far as his arsenal, it’s a power fastball, and he has a curveball and slider to go with it,” Yankees pitcher Carlos Rodón said. “It’s swing-and-miss stuff. Anytime you can get out of a jam with swing-and-miss stuff … is a big deal because in big spots you can get the strikeout you need. Obviously, a lot of strikeouts.”

The Yankees reportedly offered Snell a six-year $150 million contract earlier in the offseason, but as the contract was never signed New York thinks they are far from a deal getting done. The two sides are apparently ‘$100 million off’ as New York wanted to offer him something similar to the six-year $162 million contract they gave to Rodón. Snell wanted a contract similar to that of Washington National’s pitcher Stephen Strasburg as he signed for seven years and $245 million in 2019. The Yankees are currently over the luxury tax cap, so if Snell were to sign with the team they would need to pay 110% of his salary in tax each year.

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“You shouldn’t have to have a $300 million payroll to win a world championship because nobody has,” Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said last spring.

Despite the ownership’s thoughts, the Yankees have always been willing to spend money to secure the league’s top free agents and have never used the money they have available as an excuse. However, the team recently announced that their 2024 roster would be the first to go over the $297 million competitive balance tax (CBT), causing a tax for every player’s contract that doesn’t fit within the financial limits. New York also received a 10-spot penalty in the 2023 MLB Draft for going over the luxury tax the year before, despite only finishing fourth in the AL East in their worst season since 1992.

Snell has made more than $47 million in his career, with $16 million coming from his Cy Young season with the Padres. And though he is asking for a steep raise in the form of about $35 million a year, the Yankees would be the team to take him up on that offer, and cement themselves with one of the best bullpen’s in the league. As a team steeped in history and championships, the big time move would no doubt increase their chances next season, in hopes to shake off their 82-80 record in 2023.

“I do feel like, considering what we lost in some trades this year, I think we’re in a much better depth position than maybe I even expected,” New York manager Aaron Boone said. “But you know that depth is going to be challenged. We’ll find out.”

As Spring Training approaches and the start of the season draws closer and closer, Snell is currently still a free agent. Leaving last year with the most prestigious award a pitcher can win he is definitely a player teams want, but it just comes down to agreeing on a contract. Wherever he lands, Snell will provide a key pitching role and hope to make an impact in the postseason for his next team.

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