While the offseason hasn’t gone exactly how the San Francisco Giants hoped, they’ve made some significant additions to their 2024 roster. Could they put an exclamation point on this winter by making a big splash for free-agent starting pitcher Blake Snell?
That’s what an unnamed National League executive told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand on January 27. They think San Francisco will sign the southpaw to pair him at the top of the starting rotation with Logan Webb. “Snell to San Francisco and Bellinger to the Cubs are very obvious fits,” the executive said to Feinsand.
The Giants began the 2023-24 offseason with high hopes. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi led efforts to attempt signing Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Both of those pursuits fell short, as they each signed big-money contracts with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
San Francisco has since pivoted to making three meaningful additions. It’s included signing outfielder Jung Hoo Lee and pitcher Jordan Hicks via free agency, as well as acquiring hurler Robbie Ray via trade with the Seattle Mariners.
How Snell Is an ‘Obvious Fit’ With the Giants
This isn’t the first time MLB’s rumor mill has linked Snell with San Francisco. The Giants were showing interest in the two-time Cy Young Award winner as far back as December 21, per the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser. Even after making two acquisitions for the rotation, why is Snell still viewed as an “obvious fit” for San Francisco?
FanGraphs’ Roster Resource pegs their Opening Day starting staff to include Webb, Hicks, Ross Stripling, Kyle Harrison and Keaton Winn. Ray isn’t included because he’s still rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. He went under the knife in May 2023 and isn’t expected to return to a big-league mound until the middle of the 2024 season. Fellow injured starter Alex Cobb also won’t be back until at least May.
As for Hicks, he entered the offseason as one of baseball’s best free agent relief pitchers. He’s primarily worked out of the bullpen since debuting in 2018. Hicks has made just eight career big-league starts, all of which came in 2022 with the St. Louis Cardinals. The right-hander will be transitioning back to the rotation in 2024, with hopes of building his workload to five innings and 75 pitches by Opening Day.
It’s also worth noting that the Giants will be competing in the National League West against the Dodgers and defending NL Champion Arizona Diamondbacks. Adding the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner in Snell to the top of the rotation would greatly help San Francisco’s effort to return to the postseason.
An Updated Look at the Southpaw’s Market
The calendar is about to flip to February. Despite that, Snell has received just one official contract offer this winter. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale said on January 28 it was a six-year, $150 million proposal from the New York Yankees.
Agent Scott Boras countered with nine years and $270 million. The Yankees then pivoted to sign free-agent hurler Marcus Stroman. Feinsand reported on January 20 that an executive felt a bidding war for Snell could start if his asking price dropped. There’s been no sign of that yet, though. The Mariners and Los Angeles Angels have been linked to the southpaw. The Toronto Blue Jays are also monitoring his situation, per Nightengale.
With spring training fast approaching, it will be interesting to see when Snell and Boras adjust their current contract demands. Even if they don’t right away, Boras is familiar with having a top-tier free agent remain unsigned heading into February.
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