Blake Snell contract demand priced out Yankees for one big reason

San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell
San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees wanted Blake Snell badly enough that earlier this year they offered the Cy Young pitcher $150 million over six years. But that offer got rescinded and when the opportunity to sign Snell arose this weekend, they reportedly passed.

The Yankees refused to give Snell more than $30 million per year, according to Bob Nightengale. The Astros also declined that number. It was the San Francisco Giants who stepped up and agreed to give him $31 million per year over two years.

Why wasn't New York willing to go get Snell at that price when they were willing to give him $150 million not so long ago? It all comes down to taxes.

Blake Snell's contract demand and Yankees luxury tax were never going to mix

Here's how FanSided's MLB insider Robert Murray explained the Yankees tax situation:

"The reason [the Yankees won't sign Snell or Jordan Montgomery], of course, mostly stems from the fact that the Yankees would have to pay a 110 percent tax for any dollar added to the roster. Both players are expected to command salaries north of $20 million per year (that’s being conservative)."

So agreeing to $31 million for 2024 for Snell would have cost the Yankees double that. To put that into perspective, Aaron Judge is making $40 million per year while Shohei Ohtani's heavily deferred deal will net him $70 million per year. Paying more than $60 million for the first year to sign Snell doesn't make sense.

For the Giants, Snell is well worth $31 million per year, especially on a short-term deal.

For the Yankees, a short-term deal was never going to work because of the luxury tax burden. Getting him locked into a longer contract like the six years they offered would have allowed them to manipulate the salary somewhat. But the player wasn't willing to go below $30 million per year even on a longer deal. His original asking price was for $270 million over nine years. No one came close to meeting that demand.

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