February 22, 2024

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Why Giants signing Blake Snell doesn't make sense in free agency – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

Why Giants signing Blake Snell doesn't make sense in free agency – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

With the pursuits of Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto in the rearview mirror — much to the Giants' chagrin — San Francisco will shift its focus to its remaining free agent targets.

Who might it be? Well, NL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell seems to be the next obvious target.

Or is it?

Here's why pursuing Snell makes sense for the Giants.

Why does this make sense?

Snell started the 2023 season as having the best season Proven The free agent pitcher is on the market and remains available due to the slump caused by Ohtani and Yamamoto's free agencies.

The 31-year-old is a two-time Cy Young Award winner and is fresh off a dominant 2023 season with the San Diego Padres in which he posted a 14-9 record with a 2.25 ERA in 180 innings and 234 strikeouts.

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi explained that the team is looking to add a top-level starter to pair with ace Logan Webb and Snell is the only remaining free agent who fits the bill.

He's a proven catcher who will give the Giants a one-two punch above the rotation after Snell and Webb finished first and second, respectively, in the Cy Young last season.

Snell also played for current Giants manager Bob Melvin in San Diego. That familiarity, combined with the pitcher-friendly limits at Oracle Park and the Giants' desperation to make a big move makes this a perfect fit.

why not

The biggest knock against Snell is his leadership. He led all MLB pitchers in walks given up last season with 99, which was 30 free passes more than his highest season total at any point throughout his eight-year MLB career.

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However, he won the Cy Young.

Despite posting an impressive 2.25 ERA, Snell finished the season with a 3.44 FIP (pitching-independent field), which may indicate that a regression toward the mean is on the horizon.

As dominant as Snell was in 2023 and how good of a pitcher he should be from here on out, he doesn't fit the typical mold of a free-agent pitching target for the Giants.

Snell is represented by superagent Scott Boras, who will likely push his client for the largest contract in terms of average annual value by a free agent this offseason, surpassing Yamamoto's mark of $27 million per season.

This shouldn't be an issue for the Giants at all. San Francisco has enough financial flexibility to take on several high AAV contracts. But what can be a problem is the length of the contract.

The Giants have made their philosophy regarding free-agent shooters quite clear over the years. At 31 years old, a contract longer than four or five years for Snell goes against every part of the Giants' being.

That philosophy prevented the Giants from a potentially disastrous contract for Carlos Rodon last season but also led to Kevin Guzman slipping through their fingers two seasons ago in what was arguably the organization's biggest mistake under Zaidi.

What path will Snell's signing take them?

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