Free agency behind him, Snell locked in for '24: 'My focus is here'

March 21st, 2024

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- was in constant contact with Scott Boras about his free agency early on in the process -- so much so that the 31-year-old felt he was annoying his agent. Rumors swirled, but as time went on, Snell’s focus began to shift toward getting ready for the season, following his own training plan and pitching against collegiate players.

Months of speculation came to an end when Snell, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, signed a two-year, $62 million deal with the Giants that includes an opt-out after the 2024 season. He arrived at camp on Tuesday, when the club announced the deal.

“I love being here. I’m excited to learn what it is to be a Giant,” Snell said prior to the Giants’ 5-2 win against the Angels on Wednesday. “What happened in free agency, out of mind for a time there, but now I’m here and my focus is here.”

Just as they thought the offseason was over, the Giants added Snell to the 40-man roster nine days before the regular season begins on March 28. Now with both of the top two finishers in 2023 National League Cy Young Award voting -- Logan Webb and Snell -- the team boasts a stronger rotation, providing further experience for a group that also includes Jordan Hicks and Kyle Harrison, the Giants' No. 1 prospect and MLB Pipeline's top left-handed pitching prospect.

“We’ve talked all offseason about adding to the top of our rotation,” president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said during Snell’s introductory press conference. “It’s unusual for a deal like this to happen this late in the offseason, but we know Blake’s ready to go.”

Before entering free agency, Snell had one of the most successful seasons by a pitcher, leading the Majors with a 2.25 ERA and the NL with 6.0 bWAR. He was the best inning-per-inning starting pitcher in 2023 in terms of run prevention. He was also difficult to make contact with, striking out 234 in 180 innings pitched.

During the second half of the 2024 season, the Giants may have one of the best rotations once former AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray (Tommy John surgery) and '23 All-Star Alex Cobb (left hip surgery) are both back in action.

Snell joins Matt Chapman, Jung Hoo Lee, Jorge Soler and Hicks as the Giants’ top free-agent acquisitions.

“I had a pretty good feeling we were going to get him,” Hicks said after his start at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Wednesday. “I’m excited to watch him and pick his brain. ... There’s some good pieces coming off of the IL, so I think we’re in a great position.”

Snell will reunite with Cobb, his former Rays teammate from 2016-17, and Giants manager Bob Melvin, who was his manager with the Padres from 2021-23. Having familiarity was what helped make San Francisco the right choice for Snell, and he's felt comfortable in the clubhouse from Day 1.

“I know the staff and I know the players really well, I’m in the city a lot,” he said. “They’ve all done a really good job welcoming me and also letting me kind of figure it out for myself as well. … It’s the same as what I’m used to, so I’m excited about that.”

With just days remaining in Spring Training, the Giants have begun having conversations on when Snell can make his first game appearance. He feels strong and ready to start the season off on the right foot.

Snell is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Thursday where Melvin will assess how soon he can get into a game.