Blake Snell was scary good in 2018.
Tampa Bay’s ace unbelievably went 21-5 last season for the third-place Rays with an incredible 1.89 ERA en route to winning his first American League Cy Young Award in just his second full season in the majors.
So how did the Rays reward the lefty heading into 2019? With a pretty lame raise, that’s how.
The 26-year-old, who is not yet eligible for arbitration, will earn $573,700 this year after making $558,200 in 2018. The league minimum this season is $555,000. Salaries for non-arbitration eligible players are entirely up to the player’s franchise, and unfortunately, there is nothing Snell can do except take his pay and continue to build up his service time.
The Rays announced Snell’s salary Sunday, and the lefty voiced his frustration with the raise.
“The Rays have the right under the collective-bargaining agreement to renew me at or near the league-minimum salary,” Snell said via ESPN.
“They also have the ability to more adequately compensate me, as other organizations have done with players who have similar achievements to mine. The Rays chose the former,” he said. “I will have no further comment and look forward to competing with my teammates and field staff in our quest to win the World Series in 2019.”
Strictly from a business standpoint, it is smart for the Rays to take every advantage they can to save money, and like Snell admitted, the Rays entirely are within their rights to give their ace the small salary bump they did. While it could motivate Snell to perform for his next contract, it likely is setting the stage for some ugly arbitration battles in the coming years if the two sides are not able to come to a long-term agreement.
But you would think if the Rays had real hopes of holding onto Snell long term, they would have done more this offseason to show good faith and at least moderately reward the lefty for being lights out last season.
Thumbnail photo via Jonathan Dyer/USA TODAY Sports Images