Earlier this month, the Yankees reportedly made an offer to left-hander Blake Snell, the top remaining starting pitcher on the open market this winter. At the time, no deal got done due to what was reportedly a significant gap between the sides, which ultimately led GM Brian Cashman and his front office to pivot to a two-year deal for right-hander Marcus Stroman. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand provided an update on Snell’s free agency today, noting that while the Yankees offered Snell $150MM over six years, Snell is in search of either a longer deal or one with an annual salary of at least $30MM.
While that’s still a reasonably substantial gap, it provides more reason for optimism that the sides could come together on a deal later in the offseason than previous reporting that indicated the sides were nearly $100MM apart in negotiations. Feinsand goes on to note that while other teams have shown interest in the lefty this winter, the Yankees’ offer is only the one a team has formally put forward to Snell this winter. Feinsand goes on to indicate that it isn’t yet clear if the club remains in on Snell after adding Stroman, a possibility that echoes the club’s reported focus on bullpen additions at this point in the offseason.
Still, it’s easy to see why the club would have interest in adding Snell to its rotation. While the addition of Stroman raises the floor of the club’s rotation considerably, the club lacks a surefire front-of-the-rotation arm to pair with ace Gerrit Cole, thanks in large part to the question marks surrounding southpaws Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes after injury-marred 2023 campaigns. Adding Snell, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner who has averaged 27 starts a season over the past three campaigns, would give the club another reliable arm with substantial upside. If the sides aren’t able to come together on a deal, the Giants, Angels, and Blue Jays are among other suitors who could have interest in Snell’s services this winter.
More from the Bronx…
- Cashman told reporters (including Gary Phillips of the New York Daily News) recently that veteran first baseman Anthony Rizzo is currently cleared for full baseball activities and that doctors are not worried about symptoms of post-concussion syndrome returning in 2024, though he noted that dealing with injuries involving the brain is “tricky.” Rizzo played for over two months after sustaining a head injury in a collision with Fernando Tatis Jr. last May before being placed on the IL in early August. Rizzo slashed an impressive .304/.376/.505 in 53 games prior to the collision before slumping to a brutal .172/.271/.225 slash line in his final 46 games of the year. If the 34-year-old can come close to replicating his early season production in 2024, he’ll be a key fixture in the club’s lineup as the Yankees look to return to the playoffs after missing the postseason for the first time since 2016.
- As relayed by Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Cashman also discussed the health of veteran slugger Giancarlo Stanton with reporters recently, noting the club’s DH is in a “really good place” following his injury-marred 2023 campaign where he slashed just .191/.275/.420 in 101 games. Cashman added that Stanton’s diet and conditioning work this offseason has helped him to prepare for a healthy return to action in 2024. Manager Aaron Boone seemed to echo those sentiments during a recent appearance on the Foul Territory podcast, noting that Stanton is preparing for “occasional” starts in the outfield during the upcoming campaign. While that’s nothing new for Stanton, who has started between 93 games on the outfield grass over the past three seasons, it’s nonetheless noteworthy that he’ll continue to receive those starts in the field even after the club bolstered its outfield mix with the additions of Alex Verdugo, Juan Soto, and Trent Grisham earlier this winter.
- In his aforementioned appearance on the Foul Territory podcast, Boone also discussed Aaron Judge and his new role as the club’s regular center fielder headed into the 2024 season. The club’s manager expressed confidence in Judge’s ability to handle the everyday center field job as he heads into his age-32 season despite the hulking slugger’s lengthy injury history, though he did note that he hopes to rest Judge at DH or in left field “once or twice a week” with Grisham taking over duties in center. Assuming the club plans on starting Soto in an outfield corner everyday, that would leave just one spot in the club’s outfield/DH mix for Stanton and Verdugo on days where Grisham is covering for Judge in center. Sacrificing starts for the outfield’s other regulars figures to be a worthwhile gamble for the club to take as long as it helps Judge stay healthy, as the team’s captain has slashed an sensational .294/.417/.657 in 263 games over the past two seasons.