Blake Snell was 'never a strong option' for the Cubs in free agency

The free agent left-hander and reigning NL Cy Young Award winner remains unsigned with mere weeks until Opening Day.

San Francisco Giants  v San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres / Denis Poroy/GettyImages

With young right-hander Caleb Kilian out for the first half of the season and Jameson Taillon's status for Opening Day in doubt, fans are clamoring for Jed Hoyer to add to the Chicago Cubs starting rotation. But in the latest from The Athletic (subscription required), Sahadev Sharma threw cold water on the idea of another major addition before Opening Day.

Specifically, he singled out Blake Snell, saying he was 'never a strong option' for the Cubs given he's tied to draft pick compensation and eyeing a deal in the nine-figure range. Even with Taillon battling back and calf issues this spring, Chicago should have the depth needed to weather the storm early in the year.

Behind Opening Day starter Justin Steele, longtime rotation staple Kyle Hendricks returns, along with newcomer Shota Imanaga. A bevy of arms is vying for the final spot in the rotation, including Javier Assad, Drew Smyly, Jordan Wicks and Hayden Wesneski. Two of that group will likely start the year in the rotation as Taillon works his way back.

Cubs unlikely to pursue Blake Snell; here are 3 possible landing spots

Snell remains unsigned and it's hard to envision any sort of scenario where he's ready for Opening Day, regardless of where he signs. He's surely doing workouts on his own, but there's a big difference between working out and getting into game action and being ready for the start of a new season.

With news that Gerrit Cole is undergoing imaging on his pitching elbow, maybe the Yankees circle back on Snell - although they're looking for a longer-term deal with a lower AAV given their current luxury tax situation. The Giants and Angels both make sense, as well, with the latter constantly mentioned as a potential landing spot, as well.

The Cubs, as Sharma noted, are likely looking to save any remaining budget for in-season additions come July when they have a better idea of where their strengths and weaknesses lie. Between the rotation depth at the big league level and top pitching prospects Ben Brown and Cade Horton knocking on the door, I'd be surprised if that's where the team needs to add for a stretch run.