Blake Snell's contract projection could give Dodgers prime chance to burn Padres

Colorado Rockies v San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies v San Diego Padres / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages

"Could" give the Dodgers a chance! Notice that keyword! Because projections and predictions are hardly concrete, especially coming from Jim Bowden of The Athletic. The former MLB GM certainly has some insightful intel, but he's definitely not batting 1.000 ever since he transitioned to a role in media.

He recently released his annual ranking of the top 40 free agents (subscription required) and accompanied it with contract predictions and best fits, with the Dodgers heavily involved. He had a lot of names, such as Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Jordan Montgomery, Matt Chapman and others linked to Los Angeles.

But one name stood out above the rest: Blake Snell. Why, though? Isn't Snell an obvious fit? Left-handed ace that would seamlessly be able to handle duties atop the Dodgers rotation after all the injuries and turnover that has affected the unit?

Well, yes, but it was the price point Bowden had Snell at that made us stop and stare. He predicted a five-year, $122 million deal for the veteran. And if that's the case? The Dodgers need to probably bid up to $140 million to get everyone else out of there and close the negotiations as quickly as possible.

That's pretty much like Patrick Corbin's contract with the Nationals! A $28 million AAV for Snell to kickstart the offseason proceedings would put the Dodgers in a favorable spot and allow them to check off a very important box before spending big elsewhere.

Blake Snell's contract projection could give Dodgers prime chance to burn Padres

We know the Padres won't be active in the bidding here because of their reported cashflow problems, which could possibly force them to trade Juan Soto and his $30 million salary for 2024. Probably wish you didn't sign Xander Bogaerts and extend Yu Darvish, huh AJ Preller?

On the flip side, this is a no-nonsense offseason for the Dodgers, unless they want to continue wasting the primes of Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. Another early playoff exit won't be acceptable, and the way to fix it is by spending appropriately for the right talent. Snell at this "discount" should be where the Dodgers begin their financial endeavors. Then, they can take a breath and prepare for more influential moves elsewhere, since Ohtani and Yamamoto probably aren't signing right away.

The Dodgers need at least three new starting pitchers. Bobby Miller is penciled in for 2024, but who else? Clayton Kershaw is a free agent, and even if he returns he's no lock to pitch more than 120 innings. Lance Lynn is probably gone. Tony Gonsolin won't be back until 2025. Dustin May will more than likely transition to the bullpen. Julio Urías is gone. How much reliability can be staked in Ryan Pepiot, Emmet Sheehan, Gavin Stone and Michael Grove? Not much!

If this is the price point for Snell, the Dodgers need to make signing him their first move. Then two more big-name signings will do the trick. But the key here will be getting a relative bargain on the likely NL Cy Young winner -- and a pitcher who has historically dominated the Dodgers -- while stealing from a division rival.