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Report: Blake Snell Trade Agreed to by Padres; Rays to Receive Luis Patino, More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2020

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell during the first inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays Sunday, July 26, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Rays and San Diego Padres have agreed to a trade involving star pitcher Blake Snell, according to Dennis Lin of The Athletic.

Luis Patino (San Diego's No. 3 prospect), catcher Francisco Mejia, right-handed pitcher Cole Wilcox (No. 7) and catcher Blake Hunt (No. 14) will go to the Rays in the deal, per Lin.

Jeff Passan of ESPN noted the trade is pending medical reviews.

Fresh off winning the American League Cy Young Award, the 28-year-old signed a five-year, $50 million extension with the Rays in 2019. Though he had three years remaining on a pretty team-friendly deal, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported in November that Tampa Bay was open to moving the southpaw.

Feinsand cited the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as one reason for trading Snell away. General manager Erik Neander also probably considered how the trade value of even elite stars can be significantly diminished based on their contracts.

The Boston Red Sox could only get Alex Verdugo and prospects for Mookie Betts and David Price last offseason.

From that perspective, this was probably the best time to cash in on Snell, though it almost certainly lowers Tampa Bay's chances of making another deep run in the playoffs.

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Unfortunately for the Seattle native, his last act as a member of the Rays has already become one of the most scrutinized postseason moments in recent memory.

Snell was rolling in Game 6 of the World Series when he allowed a single to Austin Barnes. Rather than have his starter work through the Los Angeles Dodgers' batting order a third time, Kevin Cash brought in Nick Anderson. By the time the sixth ended, the Rays went from leading 1-0 to trailing 2-1.

Perhaps Snell can resolve his unfinished business in the Fall Classic with the Padres.

Since making his MLB debut in 2016, he ranks 30th among pitchers in WAR (11.6), 19th in strikeout rate (10.49) and 22nd in FIP (3.51), per FanGraphs. He hasn't been overawed by the big stage, either. He has struck out 44 batters and allowed 11 earned runs over 35 postseason innings.

Snell's 4.35 FIP in 2020 was a career high, but it's tough to extrapolate too much from such a short season and one that was staged in the shadow of a global pandemic.

He should slot into San Diego's rotation immediately as the No. 1 or No. 2 starter.

Improving its starting pitching depth was a need for the Padres before Mike Clevinger underwent Tommy John surgery. That raised the bar for what would be required in order for them to have the arms necessary to make a deep playoff run.

There are long-term concerns over Clevinger, as well, since that was the second Tommy John procedure of his career.

Patino made his MLB debut in 2020, and MacKenzie Gore will soon follow in the traded prospect's footsteps as San Diego elevates its top pitching prospects. With the addition of Snell, the franchise should have its present and future sorted on the mound.

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