Mariners Offseason Free Agency Target: Blake Snell should come home to Seattle

Arguably the most unique free agent pitcher in years happens to be a Seattle native, despite pitching being the team's strength, could they bring him home?

Colorado Rockies v San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies v San Diego Padres / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages
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Blake Snell: One of the best in the game

Blake Snell is a soon-to-be 31-year-old ace who is also a soon-to-be two-time Cy Young award winner. It's crazy to think that Snell was 1-6 with a 5.40 ERA on May 19th. From there, Snell became an alien, going 13-3 with a 1.20 ERA. While the Padres were one of the biggest disappointments in baseball, Snell was a bright light, likely to become just the 7th pitcher to ever win the Cy Young in both leagues.

Snell went 14-9 with a league-best 2.25 ERA. He finished 3rd in baseball with 234 K's. He gave up the 5th fewest home runs, giving up only 1 homer per every 12 innings. Luis Castillo gave up a homer every 7 innings pitched in comparison, and Castillo was in the AL Cy Young hunt until the final two weeks of the season. His .181 opponents batting average and 182 ERA+ are easily the best in baseball. 

While his Baseball Savant page is beaming with red all over, he's got a few serious concerns. First, his command is a concern. His opponent's average is very low, but part of that is because he walks a ton. His 99 walks easily were the most in baseball, 16 more than the second guy. Simply put, guys can't hit him, but he'll constantly put himself in trouble, which is far from the organizational viewpoint of "Controlling the Zone".

The second concern with Blake Snell is his inability to go deep into games. In his final 23 starts this season, Blake Snell only pitched into the 7th inning 3 times. He's never going to be considered that horse of the rotation that will eat innings, because of the lack of command. 

The final concern is whether Blake Snell has figured it out. Snell definitely had a rough adjustment period after being traded from Tampa Bay to San Diego, coming off the 2020 World Series changing move by Rays manager Kevin Cash to pull Snell when it looked like he had game 6 on ice. In his 8 year career, Snell has looked like a solid #3 starter in 5 of those years, a below-average pitcher in one season, and easily the best pitcher on the planet in 2018 and 2023. There's risk involved about what kind of player Seattle would get.