The Blue Jays should consider a short-term deal with latest NL Cy Young winner

Given the uncertainty surrounding the rotation, the Blue Jays would do well to contact two-time Cy Young winner Blake Snell about a potential deal.

Colorado Rockies v San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies v San Diego Padres / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

If there were two words to accurately describe the Blue Jays rotation last season, it would be 'durable' and 'consistent'. It was these aspects which greatly contributed to ranking third in the Majors with a team ERA of 3.85, second with 922 strikeouts and fifth with 894.2 innings pitched.

It has been acknowledged that the chances of having a similar level of health and consistency with the rotation in 2024, is unlikely. However, the regular season hasn't even begun yet, and the Blue Jays are already facing more than their fair share of issues with the starters.

First, Kevin Gausman was recently pulled from a bullpen session with the dreaded shoulder fatigue. In the end it turned out to be nothing serious, but the two-time All-Star is still officially listed as questionable for the beginning of the regular season, on Mar. 28 in Tampa Bay.

Next, there is Alek Manoah, who has been dealing with shoulder soreness and is expected to be out until at least Apr. 12. In addition, whether it was because of his shoulder issue or not, he didn't look good in the one game he did pitch in; not a positive sign for someone aiming to bounce back from a horrendous 2023 campaign.

In addition there's the recently signed Yariel Rodríguez, who is a potential replacement for Manoah down the road, if things do not pan out well for the 2022 All-Star. However, the Cuban native is currently dealing with back spasms and, like Gausman, is questionable for the start of the regular season versus the Rays.

An ideal addition for the rotation

With all this in mind, it's clear the Blue Jays need some insurance in the rotation. The good news is, there's an option out there who would be an ideal addition, if Ross Atkins and company are prepared to not be so stubborn.

We are talking about Blake Snell, one of the top starting pitchers available this offseason, but still yet to be signed. He is coming off a sensational 2023 season, which saw him win the second Cy Young Award of his career.

Among other things, Snell led all qualifying Major League starting pitchers with a 2.25 ERA, 99 walks, a 182 ERA+ and allowing just 5.8 hits per nine innings. He also proved durable for the San Diego Padres, with a career-high 32 starts.

The financial implications

So why hasn't the 31-year-old been signed by anyone yet? For the most part it seems to come down to his financial demands, or should that be the financial demands of his agent, a certain Scott Boras.

There has been plenty of speculation about how much Boras and his client want, with figures such as $240M for a multi-year deal and $24-$25M per year. Further, Bob Nightengale of USA Today previously reported that Snell turned down a deal from the Yankees, worth $140M.

The one thing we will agree on, is that Snell deserves more than the $16.6M he received last year in San Diego. The question is, what is a good compromise for all parties concerned, especially with the regular season now just over two weeks away?

It's important to factor in the issue of the 2018 All-Star ideally wanting some security ,with a multi-year deal. As durable as he was last season, you cannot escape the reality that he has a history of injury issues and is now in his 30s.

A feasible solution

On the flip side, we know the Blue Jays have the funds available to make a reasonable offer, after their pursuit of Shohei Ohtani. Ultimately, the answer might well come from the recent deals Cody Bellinger and Matt Chapman signed, with the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants respectively.

In the case of Bellinger, he signed a three-year deal worth $80M, which allows him to opt out after the first two seasons. As for Chapman, he secured a three-year, $54M contact, also with opt outs after the first two seasons, but additionally a mutual option for the 2027 season.

Essentially what both players did was bet on themselves, by taking slightly less than what they thought they were worth. However, if they exceed expectations -- or in their own minds meet expectations -- this year or next, they can then opt out and go in search of a higher annual value.

Next. Fallen Blue Jays first-round pick is making Statcast waves this spring with new pitch. Fallen Blue Jays first-round pick is making Statcast waves this spring with new pitch. dark

Ultimately, there's little to lose and everything to gain, by offering Snell a similar sort of deal as those offered to and signed by Bellinger and Chapman. The Blue Jays have a chance to do something special this season, and having yet another top notch arm in the rotation can only help with their ambitions.