Tampa Bay Rays, Blake Snell Agree on 5-Year, $50M Extension

A week after 2018 AL Cy Young Blake Snell expressed his displeasure with the way the Tampa Bay Rays “chose” to compensate him this season, he gets a generous contract extension.

One day after Alex Bregman, who also once asserted that he was disappointed with his team’s contract renewal, received a hefty 6-year, $100M extension from the Houston Astros, the Tampa Bay Rays decided to revisit their contract renewal with Blake Snell.

Snell is coming off a season in which he won the AL Cy Young Award after going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 0.974 WHIP. He edged out Justin Verlander, who had the best season of his career at the age of 35.

As I pointed out in THIS piece, At 25-years-old, Snell missed qualifying for arbitration by a mere 62 service days. This year, the cut off is 2 years, 134 days (written as 2.134), Snell only has 2 years, 72 days (2.072) of service.

This is important to note because, in arbitration, Snell would have been able to argue that he is worth much more than the $573,200 the Rays initially renewed him for, a $15,500 raise from last season.

With this current extension, however, both the Tampa Bay Rays and Blake Snell should walk away happy. For Snell, he is much more fairly compensated for his dominating performance last season.

For the Rays, they don’t have to worry about dealing with an arbiter. Also, they lock in Snell for the first year he would otherwise have been an unrestricted free agent in.

At $10M AAV, Snell is a bargain. Especially when you consider that in his last year of arbitration, the Jacob deGrom received a record-breaking $17M deal. According to WFAN, “DeGrom’s $9.6 million pay bump from last year’s $7.4 million salary is a record for arbitration. It’s also a record for a third-time arbitration-eligible pitcher.”

There’s no question that, given he continues to dominate, Snell would command much more money in arbitration. At the same time, however, he’d be taking a yearly risk as arbitration deals are typically for 1-year.

Nothing beats guaranteed money. Knowing this, the Tampa Bay Rays did the right thing and locked up their ace.