MLB Rumors: Cody Bellinger hurdle, Blake Snell offer, Ohtani opening series hurdle

  • Ticket prices for Shohei Ohtani's Dodgers debut are sky high
  • Blake Snell's only offer landed well below his asking price
  • Cody Bellinger has not received a formal offer yet

Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs
Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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MLB Rumors: Yankees are the only team to make an offer to Blake Snell

The Blake Snell market is dead. Considering how strong the market is for pitchers in general, it's a bit surprising that the reigning National League Cy Young winner is so broadly ignored. Snell has talked with teams, of course, but only one formal offer has come across the table, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today. That one offer — a six-year, $150 million proposition from the New York Yankees — fell far short of Snell's reported asking price of $270 million over nine years.

Snell is a complicated figure. Last season, he led the National League in ERA (2.25) but also posted the most walks (99). He has won two Cy Young awards, but his ERA has ballooned above 4.00 twice in the last five years. Snell struggles with consistency and availability. He made 32 starts and pitched 180.0 innings in 2023. He also made 31 starts and pitched 180.2 innings in 2018, his prior Cy Young campaign. In between, Snell never eclipsed 27 starts or 128.2 innings.

It's understandable for teams to balk at Snell's nine-year demand. He is 31 years old and it's rare for pitchers to receive long-term financial commitment into their early 40s. That said, the ocean between Snell's asking price and the only offer on the table is vast. We have seen Yamamoto land a 12-year contract from the Dodgers. Aaron Nola received $172 million across seven years with Philadelphia. Snell was near the top of the MLB in several key indicators last season — 98th percentile in whiff rate (37.3), 94th percentile in strikeout rate (31.5), 90th percentile in xBA (.203). There is risk involved, but when Snell is healthy and available, he's generally one of the best in baseball.

We should expect the market to heat up... eventually. Spring training is less than three weeks away, so Snell (and MLB front offices) need to move fast. Odds are the 31-year-old will have to come down on his asking price in the end. Several teams are still in need of another top-end ace. Snell's hometown Mariners are a possibility. The Phillies could sieze the opportunity to land Snell at a perceived discount. Or, he could land with a more popular big-spending candidate, such as the Giants. It's a wait-and-see game, for now.