Where Will Snell Land as Opening Day Approaches?

Exploring the Phillies' uphill battle in the NL East

by Nouman Rasool
Where Will Snell Land as Opening Day Approaches?
© Ezra Shaw

Amidst those off-season major league machinations, the spotlight grows on left-handed pitcher Blake Snell, with his new sources, might seem an unlikely deal for the Philadelphia Phillies, who remain the subject of acquirer.

Amidst such new sources, it might seem an unlikely deal for the Philadelphia Phillies to go ahead and courtan ending, adding further intrigue. That news came on the heels of a general, if vague, expectation that Snell is more likely to land with either the Angels or Giants, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

The notion of the Phillies remaining of the $100M-and-realistic persuasion hinges on Snell being willing to entertain a shorter-term deal, such as the kind recently accepted by other Scott Boras clients. Opening Day is now growing near, and that once-coveted long-term north of $200 million looks more and more remote for Snell.

Market change has allowed a bit more dash of creativity with deals: Cody Bellinger's recent three-arrival engagement with the Chicago Cubs, through two years of opt-out clauses; and Tuesday night, the Giants and Matt Chapman closed a one-year deal with player options through 2027.

Phillies' NL East Chase

Even with those changes, the Phillies would be considered a step behind the rest of their NL East brethren--a role the Braves only officially solidified in the ninth inning prior to the 2020 free-agent period.

Though the Phillies bested the Braves in NLDS showdowns between dreams of a pennant, they also lagged 14 games behind in the wake of the regular season campaigns. And advanced 2024 forecasts on FanGraphs look a lot like the same gap, with the add of Snell standing to perhaps change that.

On another front, however, the recent acquisition of Matt Chapman by the Giants indicates further reduction in his likeliness of being a Snell boy, so to speak. Everything the NL Cy Young Award runner-up Logan Webb represents was only furthered in their vow to bolster the rotation, especially with health question marks such as Tristan Beck's right arm aneurysm.

End. The storyline has since changed slightly. There is general suspicion among many teams, according to The Athletics’ Ken Rosenthal, that giving Snell a first-year opt-out is now in play after he rejected a qualifying offer by the Padres — a structure that gives the signing team draft-pick compensation.

The Yankees, in discussions with Snell, have apparently found little common ground with the impasse over the competitive balance tax implications and the forfeiture of draft choices that would come from a short-term, high-value deal with multiple opt-outs.

But of the drama off the field at the height of the off-season, Snell's decision by a far long shot is the center of everything, promising to have far-reaching implications not just on the competitive dynamics of his future team, but more on the entire league.

As different teams jockey for places and run towards the sands of time, set on opening day, the eyes have remained focused on where exactly this talented pitcher will eventually call his lot.