What I’m Hearing: There are very different expectations for the Padres’ Manny Machado and the Phillies’ Bryce Harper.
The American League’s best pitcher in 2018 has a new contract for 2019 … and beyond.
Left-hander Blake Snell has agreed to terms of a five-year, $50 million contract extension with the Tampa Bay Rays that covers his arbitration years and one year of free agency.
It’s the largest contract in major league history awarded to a pitcher before reaching arbitration. And it comes less than two weeks after the Rays renewed Snell’s contract that would have paid him $573,700 for the upcoming season — just barely above the $555,000 major league minimum.
Snell, 26, won the AL Cy Young Award last season after leading the majors with 21 wins and posting a 1.89 ERA with 221 strikeouts in 180 2/3 innings.
“Since being drafted in 2011, Blake’s talent and hard work have enabled him to establish himself as one of the most dominant pitchers in the game,” Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said in a news release announcing the deal. “We’re looking forward to seeing him take the mound for the Rays for years to come.”
USA TODAY’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2015, Snell struggled with his control once he reached the major leagues. However, he improved dramatically over the second half of 2017 and emerged as the ace of the Rays staff last season.
He has been especially dominant at home, yielding one earned run or fewer in 14 consecutive home starts from Sept. 12, 2017 through Aug. 26, 2018, the longest such streak in the majors since 1913, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
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