Ranking the 4 frontline starters the SF Giants should target in free agency
1) Blake Snell
Speaking of hot and cold, we bring you, Blake Snell! On one hand, Snell is a former Cy Young winner (2018) who is the odds-on favorite to claim the prestigious award again in 2023. At his best, he is a top-tier pitcher with the ability to dominate games.
The former Rays and Padres ace enters free agency on the heels of a stellar 2023 campaign. In a world full of home runs and inflated offense, Snell led the majors with a dazzling 2.25 ERA, while striking out 234 batters, and winning 14 games.
This type of dominance is nothing new for the veteran pitcher, who holds a career ERA of 3.20. It's not hyperbole to suggest that, if signed, Snell could potentially enter the hallowed grounds occupied by former franchise icons like Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, and Tim Lincecum.
Incumbent ace Logan Webb, a Cy Young finalist in his own right, has been amazing at the top of the rotation. The notion of him and Snell together should give fans flashbacks of the Lincecum/Cain one-two punch.
However, there are concerns in Snell's game that must be considered. First amongst these is his control issues.
In the midst of his standout season, the San Diego star also led all of baseball with 99 walked batters. For context, Braves veteran Charlie Morton held the second-highest mark in MLB... With just 76 walks.
If indeed Snell does capture his second Cy Young honors, he would be the first player since Early Winn in 1959 to capture the award while pacing the league in walks. While this did not stop him from dominating his competition, it is something that Giants President Farhan Zaidi and his front office must consider.
Additionally, Snell carries a small level of season-to-season consistency concern. For instance, since 2018, Snell has had two seasons with a 2.25 ERA or lower. During that same span, he has two seasons with an ERA over 4.20. While the veteran's ceiling is high enough too high to pass up, the Giants should be prepared for an occasional low floor.
Snell's $23.4 million per season projected market value is a huge commitment. However, San Fransisco has been in the market to spend big money on a superstar for several off-seasons. adding the ace would provide the Giants with a to-of-the-rotation starter while also stealing him for an NL West rival.