In the first mega-blockbuster of the offseason, the San Diego Padres have acquired Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell in exchange for four players, including Luis Patino.
The former Cy Young award winner was placed on the trading block this offseason, just months after leading the Rays to the World Series. Snell went 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA while striking out 63 batters across 50 innings in this past shortened season. After a breakout season in 2018 which earned Snell the Cy Young, the southpaw signed a five year/ 50 million dollar deal with the Rays.
With the Rays in payroll cutting mode once again this offseason, they could trade Snell’s three years and $39 million remaining on the contract. For the Padres, the trade gives them the top of the rotation arm to help propel them to challenge the Dodgers this upcoming season. With Snell, Dinelson Lamet, Zach Davies, Chris Paddack, locks for the rotation, and top prospect Mackenzie Gore on the way, this is the trade that can take the Padres from contenders to a world series favorite.
For the Rays, they got a haul for their young ace. In return, they will acquire Luis Patino, Francisco Mejia, Blake Hunt, and Cole Wilcox. Patino is the centerpiece of the Rays return. Patino, the number 23 overall prospect per MLB Pipeline, flashed an electric fastball with a wipeout slider and could be a future ace of Tampa Bay. Despite underwhelming numbers out of the bullpen in 2020, Patino’s future belongs at the top of a rotation.
Additionally, Mejia, the former consensus top prospect in baseball, will get a chance to reestablish his value after a down 2020. Hunt is a 22-year-old catcher who has never played above A-ball but did spend time at the Padres alternate site in 2020. Wilcox was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2020 draft and given a record signing bonus of 3.3 million. The right-handed pitcher out of Georgia has a plus fastball but lacks a true strikeout pitch. Headlined by Patino, the return for Tampa Bay is a hefty one.
With Mike Clevinger missing the 2021 season with Tommy John surgery, the Padres filled the void handsomely with Snell. With Snell, Lament, and Paddack, the Padres should push the defending World Champion Dodgers for the NL West.
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