July 12, 2024

Suddenly, the Yankees’ decision to wait for Gerrit Cole’s return and address rotation needs internally instead of making hasty, expensive signings in mid-March doesn’t seem so regrettable. Maybe Reggie Jackson deserves an apology?

We all anticipated that Snell wouldn’t be fully prepared to contribute right from the start of the season. However, we didn’t foresee the severity of the situation.

Brandon Sloter/Getty Images

Most injuries are unpredictable, and elbow problems can strike at any moment, as evidenced by every MLB team in 2024. However, it was clear that Snell might face challenges in ramping up after conducting his own private spring training sessions without team physicians’ guidance. After all, he wasn’t part of an active team due to rejecting the Yankees’ initial offers and maintaining unreasonable demands well into the winter, along with his agent, Scott Boras.

Brandon Sloter/Getty Images

Perhaps “unreasonable” isn’t the right term. It was more about being outdated. Twenty-five years ago, a team might have caved and given the reigning Cy Young winner whatever he wanted. But in today’s baseball landscape, someone like Snell, with control issues entering his age-31 season, was bound to make concessions. In the end, he settled for a short-term, high-paying deal with the San Francisco Giants, a team struggling to attract top free agents and likely pleased to sign one at the Yankees’ expense.

Now, after just three starts, Snell has an ERA of 11.57, has detracted 0.6 bWAR from the Giants, and is headed to the Injured List with an adductor strain.

Yankees target Blake Snell reaches Injured List with San Francisco Giants

If the current trend continues, perhaps Snell won’t opt out at the end of 2024 after all.

To give credit to the left-hander, April was his weakest month in 2023 (5.48 ERA/1.87 WHIP), a season that eventually turned into a Cy Young campaign and his most dominant performance. Initially, the Yankees pursued Snell to pair with Cole, but when Snell’s camp rejected their advances, they opted for Marcus Stroman instead. Stroman, aside from a minor issue with home runs, has provided consistency to bolster the Yankees’ rotation; in fact, no starter has an ERA higher than Nestor Cortes Jr.’s 3.41 mark. Starting pitching hasn’t been the team’s problem, except for the lack of innings pitched.

Jason Miller/Getty Images

When fans were most vocal about wanting Snell, he became crucial as a contributor early in the season while Cole rested. Given his nonexistent spring training, it was always more likely for him to contribute more in the second half of the season, when Cole would theoretically return. If the Yankees had spent a significant amount to fill gaps in April/May, only for Snell to struggle and then get injured, the fans who clamored for his signing would be deeply disappointed.

The Yankees don’t always make the right decisions, but in this case, considering their immediate needs and the upcoming trade deadline, they made a financially wise choice to stay away from Snell’s camp.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *