There has been much speculation about whether or not Aaron Nola will return to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are expected to push strongly to re-sign the free agent. But, if they can’t do so, they could look to replace him with a comparable arm. Owner John Middelton has a philosophy of spending, which will allow them to achieve what they want to do in the offseason. They could make a trade, but one player the Phillies could pursue is former San Diego Padre Blake Snell.
Blake Snell to Philadelphia?
Snell Is Worth the Consideration
Only a few pitchers have hit free agency, coming off as a dominant stretch as Snell put together. From the end of May, the southpaw compiled a 1.20 ERA over 23 starts. Snell blanked his opponents in 11 outings and only twice, allowing more than two runs. He is likely to claim his second Cy Young Award next week, becoming the seventh pitcher to win the award in both leagues. He posted remarkable numbers while also leading the league in walks. The last Cy Young Award winner to do that was Early Wynn in 1959.
Snell or Nola For 2024 and Beyond
The Phillies want to win a World Series. This offseason will be pivotal, especially with Nola hitting free agency for the first time in his career. Contract extension talks broke down before the 2023 season began. Bob Nightengale of USA Today believes that the Phillies let Nola walk and turn their attention to Snell. Philadelphia’s front office and their fans certainly wouldn’t mind bringing him back. If they don’t, it will be weird seeing their homegrown ace in a different uniform.
One of the Top Two Free Agent Pitchers
Snell remains the top American pitcher on the market. Yet he is behind Japanese superstar pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto from the international pool. Yamamoto deserves credit in his own right, dominating another year for the Orix Buffalo. He awaits several contract offers from MLB teams who could use his services. As for Snell, playoff baseball wasn’t in the cards for San Diego. There will be bidding wars for both pitchers, but Snell has the slight advantage for any rotation that needs him.
Pros, Cons, and Ideal Contract
The 30-year-old could be an upgrade. That could give the Phillies a left-handed pitcher to complement right-handed ace Zack Wheeler. However, there are some concerns with Snell. He only exceeded 130 twice in his career. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden predicts that Snell will get a contract similar to fellow southpaw Robbie Ray’s agreement with the Seattle Mariners. Ray signed a five-year, $115 million with the Seattle following his Cy Young Award-winning season.
Snell’s camp will likely point to that or Carlos Rodon’s six-year, $162 million contract with the New York Yankees as examples. Rodon came off a 2.88 ERA with 237 strikeouts in over 175 innings when he reached free agency in 2022. Unfortunately, his resume isn’t that much comparable to Snell’s. He might look for longevity in his next contract and prioritize that over a large yearly salary. If that’s the case for either or, then Philadelphia should consider Snell.
Phot Credit: © Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK