Yankees had no reason to stop pursuing Blake Snell if latest report is true

Colorado Rockies v San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies v San Diego Padres / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages

You know the story by now. One afternoon, the Yankees seemed so swayed by the pitch of Aaron Judge and the approving nod of Gerrit Cole that they decided to "go for it," offering Cy Young-winning left-hander Blake Snell a contract in what amounted to an all-in move.

Snell has his warts, sure. And they're obvious. He possesses the highest walk rate in the game's illustrious history. If he wasn't so good at missing bats, he would be an also-ran. Instead, he's the kind of guy who's been rewarded (twice!) for throwing some of the nastiest possible five-or-six-inning stints. You want to be careful how much you pay him, but you want him on your team.

The Yankees apparently came to the same conclusion in early January. While they were reticent to meet Snell's (and Scott Boras') rumored asking price (which has been reported anywhere between $200 and $270 million), they finally chose to extend an offer of five years and $150 million at the start of the month. Considering they intended to sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto for $300+ million, it seemed like neither a bad use of funds nor the full package. It was the type of offer that saved some dough for Juan Soto next winter.

And then, in a flash, the Yankees pivoted anyway, signing Marcus Stroman that night for far less ($37 million over two years with a potential vesting option). Stroman, at that rate, feels like a quality addition. But if Mark Feinsand's reporting from over the weekend is accurate, the Yankees remain the only team to extend an official offer to Snell during this process. Why, then, did they surrender the fight immediately?

Yankees being only MLB team to offer Blake Snell a contract is insane

Ok, we get it. You don't want to play Boras' game. You're facing tax penalties. You have Soto on the brain. Maybe the rejection made you realize that you were skittish all along to offer Snell the $150 million, and not only would not go higher, but would rather go lower.

The only reason that waving the white flag would make some sense is if Boras and Snell gave an indication that they wouldn't even consider an offer that didn't begin with a "2". But ... it seems like nobody else will, either. Unless the Yankees were afraid of losing Stroman, or couldn't possibly imagine. -- gasp -- having six competent, experienced starters on the payroll, they should've remained engaged on this offseason's pitching prize, warts and all.

Meanwhile, James Paxton is the Dodgers' No. 6 starter.