Why haven't the southpaws signed? Latest rumors regarding Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery

San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) reacts after being called for a balk during the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park.
San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) reacts after being called for a balk during the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park.

The never-ending saga continues. As the MLB regular season continues to draw nearer, two game-changing southpaws remain unsigned: reigning National League Cy Young winner Blake Snell and 2023 World Series champion Jordan Montgomery.

Although both players have been linked to countless teams throughout the offseason and many have speculated that deals with both players could happen at any moment, the pair remain without a team with just over two weeks left until the start of the regular season on March 28.

Surely, many teams are interested in each player. After all, they are game-changing talents with the skill set to take any team's pitching staff to the next level. However, it's clear that their agent, Scott Boras, is looking to earn Snell and Montgomery larger paydays than any team is willing to offer. Eventually though, someone should break, whether it's the players themselves, Boras, or any GM looking to bolster their squad ahead of the 2024 season.

Here are the latest rumors surrounding both Snell and Montgomery.

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Yankees still not interested in Snell after Cole injury

Despite the New York Yankees offering a deal to Snell earlier this offseason, the team now seems uninterested in reigniting conversations with the reigning Cy Young winner even after their own reigning Cy Young winner, Gerrit Cole, underwent an MRI on his throwing elbow.

According to SNY's Andy Martino, "the Cole news has not reignited the Yankees’ onetime pursuit of free agent ace Blake Snell." Even more, Martino made it clear that the team was not interested in trading for White Sox ace Dylan Cease either. The Yankees were reportedly interested in Cease at the start of 2024, but interest in the former Cy Young finalist has dropped off as the team has made other moves to shore up their starting rotation.

Martino reports that "preliminary imaging [from Cole's MRI] did not show any ligament tears." However, Martino continues to say that there is enough concern surrounding Cole that he "will fly to Los Angeles for a visit with renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache."

Martino claims that the best case scenario for the Yankees at this point is that they will be without Cole for only a month or two as, even if the diagnosis of "no ligament tear" holds up, Cole will need time to build back up to strength equal to the amount of time he was shut down. Despite all this though, "Cole’s injury has not inspired the Yankees to change their stance on signingBlake Snell. A trade for Chicago White Sox aceDylan Ceaseis also unlikely," Martino says.

This news likely means one of two things. Either the Yankees are fairly certain that Cole's injury will not be season-ending, which could be the case given that Yankees manager Aaron Boone called the MRI "precautionary," or the team is content with the current situation with the starting rotation (even without Cole) after signing Marcus Stroman to a two-year, $37 million contract in January.

Regardless of the reasoning, it appears the pool of teams interested in Snell is diminishing by the moment, even as teams endure spring training injuries, it appears Snell's price tag is so exorbitant that teams are willing to look elsewhere than at the pitcher voted best in the National League just a season ago.

Angels are favorites to sign Snell

Although the Los Angeles Angels were always in the running to land reigning NL Cy Young winner Blake Snell, the team has recently surged ahead as the runaway favorites. Bob Nightengale reports that Snell is now much more willing to sign a short-term contract with opt-out clauses, which should be more attractive to other teams. The only drawback with the Angels seems to be Arte Moreno's willingness to approve a big-name free agent purchase.

The Angels have been burned by free agents in the past, most notably the acquisition of former Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon. Even further back, the acquisitions of Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, Joe Blanton, Justin Upton, Zack Cozart, and Josh Hamilton did not turn out as well as the team hoped. Since 2010, the Angels have only reached the playoffs only once, 2014, when they were promptly swept in the ALDS by the Kansas City Royals. So, perhaps, big name free agent signings are not the appropriate path to victory for the Angels.

Jordan Montgomery looking for a long, long, long-term deal

When thinking about a long-term deal, most people would consider four years a decent contract with some decent length offering some confidence that the player will maintain a sizable role in the organization for years to come. That would be an especially great deal for a player entering his age-31 season, right? Well, apparently not for Jordan Montgomery.

According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, Montgomery is seeking a seven-year deal, which would keep him a member of the Red Sox through his age-37 season. The Red Sox, who have been linked to Montgomery all offseason are still the favorites to land the southpaw, but Montgomery's insistence on a long-term future with the team seems to be the main reason why a deal hasn't been reached.

Although Montgomery has been a very solid pitcher over the last three seasons, having thrown 524.1 innings with a 3.48 ERA, the Red Sox do not seem inclined on making a splash this free agency period. Even with the addition of Montgomery, the Red Sox would still be far and away the weakest team in the AL East, unready to compete for a division title, let alone a World Series. Without faith that the current team can compete, the addition of Montgomery would simply be putting a bow on an otherwise insignificant squad. With that in mind, the idea that talks between Montgomery and the Red Sox could fall through without a deal being reached is becoming more and more likely.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB Rumors: Latest on Snell, Montgomery as MLB regular season nears