Recent blockbuster trade could give the Angels more competition in Blake Snell hunt

The challenge to sign Blake Snell has likely become more difficult thanks to this latest trade
Sep 10, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) walks in the
Sep 10, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) walks in the / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Snell entered this offseason as one of the best pitchers available, but his market has been pretty quiet. His high price tag and the fact that he has draft pick compensation attached to him are likely two reasons why he remains available and without much rumored interest.

The Los Angeles Angels are a team that has been linked to Snell and it makes perfect sense as to why. The team desperately needs frontline starting pitching. Snell has his moments where he's not the elite pitcher that he was in 2023, but his upside can't be matched by anyone in this free agency class.

While the Angels undoubtedly have a level of interest in Snell, and his market probably isn't as robust as many expected, they're far from the only team that'd have interest in bringing him aboard. Perhaps the latest trade that the Mariners made will make their lives even harder.

Mariners could be clearing money for Blake Snell, making the competition more stiff for the Angels

The Mariners made another shocking trade, parting with former Cy Young winner Robbie Ray in exchange for former Mariner Mitch Haniger and pitcher Anthony DeSclafani. The Mariners don't save money for the 2024 season, but they save future money by shipping Ray away. DeSclafani is in the final year of his deal, and Haniger's runs out at the end of the 2025 season (with the ability to opt-out after this one).

The Mariners dumped Ray who has $73 million remaining on the five-year deal he signed prior to the 2022 season. He can opt-out like Haniger after this season, but considering the fact that he's only going to return from Tommy John Surgery after the all-star break, there's a good chance he's not opting out. Seattle opens future flexibility with this deal to potentially pursue a guy like Snell to join what is already an elite rotation.

Snell is a Seattle native and is rumored to have an interest in returning home. With their only financial commitments past the 2026 season going to Luis Castillo and Julio Rodriguez, Seattle can structure a Snell deal to where they can squeeze him in for now and give him a larger portion of the money when they have more available on their books.

They don't need Snell with how good the rest of their rotation is, but by signing Snell and then trading one of their pitchers for an infielder, Seattle could easily insert themselves into the conversation in the AL West.

Not only are the Mariners a threat, even with the Ray addition the Giants will presumably still be interested in pursuing Snell since Ray will be out for half the year and Alex Cobb is hurt as well.

This doesn't eliminate the Angels from any Snell talk by any means, but the competition to land him may have become more stiff.