Padres acquire Blake Snell from Rays in a blockbuster trade

Credit: AP Photo

(Photo by Will Vragovic / Tampa Bay Rays)

The San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays agreed on a deal that involves Blake Snell

The MLB hot stove has been, for lack of better wording, cold as ice.

After a coronavirus-racked season led to lower revenues and only 60 games, front offices have been iffy on making moves.

Leave it to A.J. Preller to drop a pipebomb on the stove to get it cooking.

Late Sunday night, the San Diego Padres and the Tampa Bay Rays swung a deal to send Blake Snell to the West Coast for a prospect package of Luis Patino, Francisco Mejia, Blake Hunt, and Cole Wilcox. The deal is pending medical reviews.

Preller and Tampa Bay general manager Erik Neander are quite familiar with each other, and as is this is the third major trade the pair have executed in the past two offseasons.

Shortly after falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, Tampa Bay informed teams that they were “open” to the idea of trading the former Cy Young award winner but weren’t actively shopping him.

The trade comes exactly two months after Snell was pulled early from Game 6 of the World Series, a decision that came back to haunt the Rays as the Dodgers clawed back to win the game and the title.

Snell doesn’t come cheap, but then again, neither did Mike Clevinger. In the 2020 season, Snell pitched to a 3.24 ERA in 50 innings. Along the way, he struck out 31% of batters and walked just 8.9% with a 4.35 FIP, 3.06 xFIP, and a 3.57 SIERA.

Perhaps the biggest boon is his contract. Snell signed a five-year, $50 million contract extension with the Rays back in 2019 and will be making a bargain $10.5 MM in 2021. The contract increases to $12.5 MM in 2022 and $16 MM in 2023 with salary escalators should he win the Cy Young award.

The obvious headliner for Tampa Bay is Patino. Heading into the offseason, Patino was one of the “untouchable” prospects mentioned by Preller, but he will now be heading to Tampa Bay. As the No. 3 prospect in San Diego’s farm system according to MLB.com, Patino made his debut in the bullpen during the shortened 2020 season.

His debut came with diminishing results. The then-20 year old pitched to a 5.19 ERA in just 17.1 innings, striking out 21 batters while walking 14. However, he is still just 21 years old with a high ceiling alongside a fastball that sits at 97 mph.

Mejia is a former top-ten prospect who has seemingly fallen out of grace with the San Diego front office. Since being acquired from the Cleveland Indians in 2018, Mejia has hit a collective .229/.282/.398 batting line with 84 strikeouts, 13 walks, and 12 home runs.

While he possesses a strong throwing arm, he still struggled to throw out would-be base stealers. Mejia only threw out six runners as opposed to the 30 runners that took a base. It was these struggles, combined with various injuries, that led him to a timeshare with Austin Hedges.

With the emergence of Luis Campusano and Austin Nola’s acquisition from the Seattle Mariners, there was no room for Mejia on the roster.

Hunt has emerged as a top-100 prospect himself as he has impressed in recent workouts. Ranked 14th among San Diego prospects by MLB.com, Hunt slashed .255/.331/.381 over 376 plate appearances in Low-A Fort Wayne during the 2019 season.

Wilcox made waves as a third-round pick as he received a $3.3 million signing bonus. While he was a potential first-round pick, money and signability issues led to him falling to the Padres in the third round. He and first-round pick Robert Hassell III were the only 2020 draftees to be invited to the Padres Alternate Training site at the University of San Diego.

With the acquisition of Snell, San Diego’s 2021 pitching rotation appears to be set for the time being, with Snell leading the pack followed by a presumably healthy Dinelson Lamet, Zach Davies, and Chris Paddack. 2022 looks to be even deadlier with the potential return of Clevinger and the looming debut of MacKenzie Gore.

Don’t count out another out-of-nowhere move from Preller. Because with him at the helm, anything is possible.

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Jason Freund
I am currently attending San Diego State University while working on achieving a major in journalism. At SDSU, I write for The Daily Aztec while also hosting the sports radio show "Picked Off", for KCR Radio. A loyal fan of San Diego sports, I hope to bring content that you will enjoy reading.

4 thoughts on “Padres acquire Blake Snell from Rays in a blockbuster trade

  1. Wilcox will be TB’s next Snell. He’ll be an ace with controllable years because he’s that good. I was NOT happy to see him included. I figured we would give up Patino in a deal this off-season. His underperforming stint in the majors took a bit of the shine off of him. I think he’ll recover from that. I’m glad to be rid of Mejia. I can see him being out of baseball after a couple more subpar years of no position, poor plate discipline, and too many strikeouts.

    It took a lot of our top guys to get Snell. But, that was a given with Snell being so effective and with his reasonable 3 years remaining on his contract. We still have a bunch of talent but I can see AJ draining it even further when all is said and done this offseason.

    We have certainly improved our team between this trade and the Korean kid (25). I believe our outfield will be getting a makeover before we hit February. I also see us solidifying the backend of our bullpen. Will AJ pay Rosenthol or send a couple prospects up north for Hendricks?

  2. This is exactly the kind of trade that teams whose window of contention has opened make all day long. Padres won this trade for the next 3 years, after that Tampa figures to do well. If they add Darvish too that would make some rotation.

  3. Tampa Bay knows how/when to sell high on their major league talent. They had the number one minor league system, which just got a whole lot better, AND they made it to the World Series on a (relatively) minimal budget.

    Let’s hope Snell pitches more than 160 innings over the next 3 years. Losing Patino hurts, but this is a bold move that helps replace Clevinger and Lamet.

  4. Not a bad trade. I thought they would have to give up more. Obviously losing patino stinks, but I’m bummed that we didn’t even get a chance to see Wilcox pitch at all. He could be a potential top prospect but he’s kind of a throw in it seems in this deal. Overall though it’s awesome to get an ace type guy coming back, and we didn’t have to get rid of Abrams, Hassell or Hudson head, who might be the future of our outfield if and when pham and wils contracts expire. Obviously it’s also awesome we didn’t lose gore or weatherseither. Nice.

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