Snell Skips Minors After Offseason Free Agency

Giants' Blake Snell confronts early challenges in new season.

by Nouman Rasool
Snell Skips Minors After Offseason Free Agency
© Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

For former Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, the journey into free agency stretched unexpectedly long, spanning nearly five months before he inked a deal with the San Francisco Giants. This lengthy wait, peculiar for a pitcher of Snell's caliber, prompted speculation about whether it was a calculated holdout for a more lucrative contract.

Ultimately, the 31-year-old settled on a one-year agreement worth $32 million. Entering the 2023 season, hopes were high for Snell, especially following a standout year with the San Diego Padres where he posted a league-leading 2.25 ERA and a 14-9 record, securing his second Cy Young accolade.

However, his start with the Giants has been less than stellar, as he grapples with evident rustiness after the extended offseason. Snell's struggles became glaring during his third start against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Over his last seven innings pitched, including Sunday's game, he has surrendered a total of 10 earned runs, leading to a crushing ERA of 11.57.

In his latest outing, Snell was responsible for five earned runs in just 4.2 innings, contributing to a disappointing loss and raising concerns about his current form.

Snell's Optimistic Outlook

Despite the rocky start, Snell remains optimistic about his capacity for improvement.

Speaking to after the game, he expressed a steadfast resolve to overcome the early-season hurdles. "I'll find ways to get better and be the best me. I don’t get too worried about the three games that I have had because I know that I’m better," Snell stated, maintaining a positive outlook amid the setbacks.

The idea of Snell starting the season in the minor leagues to regain his form was suggested by analyst Bob Nightengale in a recent USA Today piece. However, Snell dismissed this option, indicating his readiness to compete at the highest level despite the lengthy hiatus.

"It was definitely an option, but I don't think I needed it," he explained. As the Giants continue their campaign in the NL West, the pressure mounts for Snell to return to his former excellence and help steer the team away from further declines in the standings.

General Manager Pete Putila had emphasized that Snell's acquisition was not only for his impressive arm but also for his vast experience at the pinnacle of baseball. It’s this experience the Giants hope will prevail as Snell looks to recalibrate and fulfill the high expectations surrounding his high-profile move.

In the weeks to come, it will be crucial for Snell and the Giants to address these early issues. For a pitcher of Snell’s stature, there’s always a pathway back to dominance, and for San Francisco, their season might depend on how quickly he can find it.