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2023 MLB Free Agents: Predictions for Top Pitchers Set to Hit Open Market

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JULY 15: Blake Snell #4 of the San Diego Padres in action against the Philadelphia Phillies during game one of a double header at Citizens Bank Park on July 15, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Blake Snell may very well accomplish something only three other pitchers in baseball history have done: lead Major League Baseball in both ERA and walks.

Entering the final week of the season, he has accumulated a league-low 2.25 ERA and 99 walks, eight more than Michael Kopech of the White Sox.

It is, perhaps, the most Snell thing ever but he is also leading the league in opponent batting average (1.81) and that, coupled with the ERA, should be enough to earn him the Cy Young in the National League.

If he does capture the award, he would become just the seventh pitcher to win in both leagues, joining Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay, and Max Scherzer.

That is elite company and a legitimate accomplishment, just not one that is likely to lead to a big-money deal with the Padres.

Bob Nightingale of USA Today reported, “The San Diego Padres, who had the third-highest opening-day payroll in baseball, have no plans to bring back free agents Blake Snell or Josh Hader in 2024.”

That is as definitive as it gets, despite Nightingale previously reporting that Snell wanted to stay in San Diego.

With Snell expected to be a top pitching free agent, if not the most coveted, he will fetch a big contract. The New York Mets are a team to watch, even if they are still shell-shocked from a disastrous 2023 season that fell far short of expectations.

The team needs starting pitching and, while there will be hesitation following the failed acquisitions of Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, Snell is 30 years old and seemingly in his prime, neither of which the future Hall of Famers were when they came to Queens.

The Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies are also potential suitors as neither organization has been particularly shy about spending money in the pursuit of upgrading their rosters and chasing a World Series title.

Prediction: Snell signs with New York



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