With San Diego Padres fans still hoping for a postseason miracle in 2023 but realistically turning their eyes to 2024, questions abound about the futures of Blake Snell and Josh Hader in brown and gold.
Both Snell and Hader returning would boost the starting rotation and bullpen, respectively, significantly. However, neither will come at a cheap price and decisions surrounding them could result in a domino effect for the team the rest of the offseason.
With Snell pitching like a Cy Young Award favorite, there are now rumors circulating that he could want to return to San Diego in 2024 and beyond.
San Diego Padres rumors: Blake Snell "wants to stay in San Diego"
According to MLB insider Bob Nightengale, there is some talk coming from the 30-year-old southpaw that he would like to come back to San Diego after his current contract expires at the end of the season.
In his weekly column, Nightengale writes, "San Diego Padres Cy Young candidate Blake Snell tells USA TODAY Sports he wants to stay in San Diego when he hits free agency, but has yet to engage with the front office on a potential contract extension."
That last point is a key one because the Padres may well be weighing their options when it comes to the size of their 2024 payroll. After a spending spree in 2023 and questions surrounding team revenue from television contracts swirling, will the Padres be open to spending the kind of money it will take to keep Snell (or Hader or even Juan Soto) in San Diego on a long-term basis? As Nightengale points out, with the season he is putting together, Snell is expected to be the top free agent pitcher available this offseason, meaning there will likely be a bidding war for his services.
If the Padres want to keep him and Snell truly wants to stay in San Diego, discussions around a new contract would be beneficial sooner than later, and certainly before other teams can drive up the market. After all, it's never too early to start thinking about 2024 and how the Padres will rebound from what looks to be a very disappointing 2023.