Contract projections are almost never an accurate representation of what actually goes down in free agency. For example, who predicted Xander Bogaerts would get $280 million? What about Jose Abreu's $60 million? Trea Turner's $300 million over 11 years? And that all happened before the 2023 season!
On a case by case basis, it's hard to predict, but nonetheless it should rarely ever matter for a team like the New York Yankees, who, in theory, have the most spending power of any team in Major League Baseball.
And too bad they're paying Aaron Judge $360 million, Giancarlo Stanton $325 million and Gerrit Cole $324 million. The front office made those decisions thinking it was building a contender. It didn't. So the solution is to either be better at acquiring players via trade or spend more money in free agency.
Since Brian Cashman isn't particularly good at the former, it's time for Hal Steinbrenner to step in and green light the latter this offseason. More importantly, however, the Yankees need to spend on the right players, and if they happen to come at a discount, even better! Buy a few of them and get one of the massive names.
The Yankees typically do a subpar job of guaging the market, but, this time around, if somebody like Blake Snell is going to cost you something in the $120-$150 million range, you do it. You do it without blinking and then figure out whatever else you need to later on.
Blake Snell contract projection gives Yankees no excuse come free agency
Former MLB GM Jim Bowden predicted Snell would land a five-year, $122 million contract this offseason, which seems low for somebody who's about to win the Cy Young award. He's about to join an exclusive club, too, having won the award in both leagues. This will be his final big payday as he's entering his age-31 season.
Then again, Bowden's aim might not be too off guard. For as good as Snell is, he's only made 30 or more starts in a single season twice throughout his eight-year career. And at this rate, his Cy Young production is more of an outlier rather than the norm.
But that's the thing ... when he's healthy, he's among the best. It sounds crazy for the Yankees to chase another player with such a history, but that's the thing ... we're not endorsing solely that. If Snell costs $120 million, sign him right away, then go after Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Pay your way out of this mess. And if the stars don't align for one single season with Cole, Snell, Yamamoto and Carlos Rodón in this hypothetical scenario, then ... well ... you tried. Four All-Star-caliber pitchers should be able to band together for a 2009-esque run, in theory.
This is where spending power is at its peak value. Free agents whose markets don't entirely materialize need to be poached without hesitation. Far too many times, the Yankees have fallen victim to paying top-of-market for desired talent while they play their game of cat and mouse.
If someone like Snell is available at the onset of free agency for less that what Rodón cost? It shouldn't even be a thought. Done deal. Onto the next, which will likely be a bidding war. But at least you got a guy who can buy you time and serve as a replacement if the other endeavors don't pan out.