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Why I Wouldn’t Invest In Blake Snell

Blake Snell
Blake Snell is one of many free agent starters available. Here is why I wouldn’t be interested in giving Snell a big-money contract. (Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports)

Why I Wouldn’t Invest In Blake Snell

There is a glut of starting pitching available on the MLB free agent market. A number of those names have already been signed. Reigning NL Cy Young winner Blake Snell is still available, but it’s only a matter of time before he cashes in big. I’m just going to go ahead and say right now that I think any team that invests heavily in Snell will regret it.

There are way too many red flags here. They have everything to do with the makeup of the pitcher. I don’t mean by character concerns. I mean by pure efficiency on the mound. Snell clearly has talent. Teams should just know they’re playing with real wildfire by committing big dollars into the former Rays and Padres starter.

Snell, 31, was great last year posting a 2.25 ERA in 32 starts. It doesn’t get much better than that. He was also great in 2018 when he posted a 1.89 ERA with Tampa. The problem is the contract he’s about to receive, his other years of performance won’t be able to justify it. Especially with Snell about to age into his 30’s.

Snell is a quality pitcher but he’s also an efficient one and it’s not arguable. Did you know Snell led the league in walks (99) despite winning the Cy Young? That’s five walks per game. During his three-year stint with the Padres, Snell averaged 4.5 walks per game. Snell also benefitted from plus defense in San Diego last year where his FIP at 3.44 was probably much more indicative of his year.

How much money are you going to give to a pitcher that can’t help himself? The walks are going to be there. It’s who he is. Your contract that you hand Snell will be defined by his ability to win three and two counts over the course of a lengthy contract. Is that something you want to bet on as the decline starts to creep in?

It’s not just the walks that are the problem. Because Snell throws so many pitches during his outings, he’s taxing the bullpen at the same time. 2023 and 2018 were Snell’s best seasons. If you take out his two best and two worst seasons, Snell averages 112 innings pitched per year. That’s not good enough. If I’m committing high dollars to a starter, he needs to be an innings eater. For the most part excluding last year, Snell has not been. The walks and inefficiency on the mound has most to do with that.

I like Blake Snell. I’m not trying to be a hater. But we know what’s going to happen here. If Aaron Nola just got $172 million, what is Snell about to get? I’m out on any kind of big money deal for Snell and has all the makings of a contract the team will instantly regret.

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