Padres: A look at what it may take to land Blake Snell
Pitcher Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays is reportedly on the trade block. What would it take for the San Diego Padres to acquire him?
With MLB’s “virtual” Winter Meetings looming, one name that figures to come up a lot is Blake Snell, the Tampa Bay Rays southpaw who is reportedly on the trade block. The San Diego Padres could use a starting pitcher with Mike Clevinger out for the 2021 season due to Tommy John surgery. The Padres still have a strong farm system, so they have come up a lot in Snell rumors.
Some Padres fans might want the team to pursue with caution here, as it seems like the Rays have often come out well in trades with other teams. It also should be noted that, despite all the rumors and the Rays’ frequent desire to cut costs, they may ultimately decide to hold onto Snell after losing Charlie Morton via free agency, as losing Snell would create a giant hole in their starting rotation (unless they get a major league-ready starting pitcher in return).
Snell, who happens to turn 28 today, had a career year in 2018 that led to him winning the AL Cy Young Award. He may never repeat that performance, but he was still solid last year, posting a 3.24 ERA in 11 starts. One knock on him may be that he wasn’t a big innings eater last year, as he never made it through six innings in any of his 11 regular season starts (though the Rays are a team that relies heavily on relief pitching).
If the Padres want to put together a package for Snell, they should be able to do it without giving up their two biggest prospects in MacKenzie Gore and CJ Abrams. The latter likely wouldn’t be a fit in Tampa Bay anyway, as Wander Franco is already looming as the team’s future shortstop. The Rays’ biggest needs in a Snell deal would be pitching and a catcher, as the Rays are especially thin at the latter position.
The Rays likely will want a pitcher who is at least on the verge of being major league ready; assuming Gore is off the table, Luis Patino, who saw a little bit of big league action in 2020, would be an obvious target for them.
Meanwhile, assuming the Padres are going with Austin Nola as their catcher moving forward – the Luis Campusano arrest notwithstanding – perhaps they would be willing to part with 25-year-old Francisco Mejia. They would likely want to get a solid backup to replace Mejia; perhaps they could re-sign Jason Castro.
Would one more prospect do it? The Rays might be interested in Jorge Ona to help with their outfield after they let Hunter Renfroe go earlier this offseason. Or if he’s not high-end enough, perhaps another pitcher – say, Michel Baez, who already had some big league success in 2019 – would interest the Rays enough. Again, given that losing Snell would be a big blow to the Rays’ rotation, maybe they would want both in a four-for-one deal.
So, let’s say that a possible offer could be Patino, Mejia, Baez, and Ona for Snell. On the one hand, I can’t get past the fact that Snell hasn’t been going deep into games. I feel like giving up both Baez and Ona would be too costly; maybe just Baez would make for a fair trade.
On the other hand, the Padres would hang onto Gore and Abrams and would be trading from strengths while making a necessary upgrade to their rotation. If the Padres are going to “go for it” this might be the time.
What do you think? Is Patino, Mejia, Baez, and Ona for Snell too much to give up? Or do you feel that it would be worth it?