The Tampa Bay Rays have locked up starting pitcher Blake Snell for the next five seasons.
The 2018 American League Cy Young winner is going to be staying in Tampa Bay for a while. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, starting pitcher Blake Snell has agreed to a five-year, $50 million contract extension with the team.
BREAKING: Reigning AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell and the Tampa Bay Rays are in agreement on a five-year, $50 million contract extension, league sources tell ESPN. The deal runs through Snell’s age-30 season and does not include any options.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 21, 2019
This extension, according to the Rays, is the biggest contract a pitcher has ever received before becoming arbitration-eligible. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the entirety of the $50 million contract is guaranteed.
Earlier this month, Snell had expressed his disappointment with the Rays after receiving just a $15,500 bonus for the upcoming season. That’s not much compensation for a reigning Cy Young winner who helped the Rays finish the season well above expectations. This contract should make up for it just fine, though. Fifty million dollars is quite a lot of money for a pitcher who is only 26 years old and has just three major league seasons under his belt.
During his 2018 Cy Young season, Snell went 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA across 180 2/3 innings pitched. He now boasts a career 2.95 ERA over 399 innings.
Snell’s new contract seems to be a smart business move for both parties. The Rays have locked up a Cy Young pitcher for multiple seasons for an absolute bargain price. Meanwhile, Snell gets to enjoy guaranteed money before becoming a free agent again when he turns 30, which is typically about when elite pitchers start to see mega contracts.
The Rays were one of the big surprises of the 2018 season. No one had them pegged to win 90 games. PECOTA projects the Rays to regress slightly with just 86 wins this season, which may actually be a bit optimistic for this team. No matter what happens in 2019, though, Blake Snell is now the centerpiece Tampa Bay should be building around.