SF Giants reported signing of Blake Snell proves they are in win-now mode

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The SF Giants reportedly agreed to a two-year, $62 million deal with 2023 Cy Young winner Blake Snell on Monday. This move proves that the Giants are in win-now mode after capping off an offseason in which they were one of the more aggressive spenders in baseball.

SF Giants reported signing of Blake Snell proves they are in win-now mode

In fairness, the Giants have been aggressive spenders in the past. In 2023, they committed $218 million against the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) according to Cot's. Spending has not been as much of an issue as how it has been spent.

The Giants have been have been reluctant to hand out long-term deals in recent seasons, but have been curbing that trend this winter. They handed out a six-year deal to Jung Hoo Lee and a four-year pact to Jordan Hicks. They still handed out shorter-team deals as well.

The Snell move is an example of that. It is a two-year deal, but it includes an opt-out. Matt Chapman signed a one-year deal with player options in 2025 and 2026 with a mutual option for 2027. These deals very much align with the front office's risk tolerance.

The Snell deal carries a $31 million hit against the CBT, pushing the Giants well above the CBT threshold of $237 million for 2024. They are not repeat offenders of the luxury tax, so they would only pay a 20 percent tax on the overage. Cot's estimates that the Giants have committed about $252 million against the CBT, so the Giants would pay a tax of approximately $3 million.

Teams do not cross the CBT threshold without hopes of competing. That is just not a smart business move. The Giants had previously stated that they would be willing to go beyond the CBT threshold under the right circumstances. Evidently, the prospect of adding Snell is one of those circumstances.

On top of this, both Chapman and Snell rejected qualifying offers earlier this winter. The Giants went nearly 10 years without signing a player who rejected a qualifying offer, but they have done so twice this winter.

This will have ramifications. In signing Chapman, the Giants will lose their second-round pick and $500,000 in international bonus pool money. With Snell, they lose their third-round pick and an additional $500,000 in international bonus pool money. Not only do the Giants lose the picks, they lose the slot value that comes with those picks, thereby limiting their flexibility in this year's draft.

This is not a move that a team makes if they do not anticipate competing in 2024. Before signing Snell, the Giants made several good moves on paper. They were easy moves to justify because they filled holes on the roster and made the team better.

However, the starting rotation was left a bit exposed and it felt like this could be a quasi-gap year without adding another rotation arm. The Giants addressed that in a big way with Snell and conveyed to the rest of baseball that they are pushing for a playoff spot this season. Of course, the season still needs to play out.

That said, this was a successful offseason for the front office and one that seemingly went against the grain with how they operated in the past. It bears mentioning that Farhan Zaidi had received an extension earlier in the offseason. This was a surprise given that the team was coming off of a 79-win season.

He was heading into a lame-duck season, but the Giants addressed that with the extension. He is not on the hot seat, but the team needs to win sooner rather than later. The moves he has made this winter signal that intent. Zaidi cannot be overly focused with how the organization might look five years from now if the team does not win today.

This offseason certainly had its bumps. The Los Angeles Dodgers added tremendous talent with Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Tyler Glasnow. It is hard to compete with that talent infusion. However, the Giants have had a successful offseason as well and it is now clear that they plan to compete in 2024.