Padres reportedly get their pitcher, acquire Snell from Rays

The San Diego Padres are close to acquiring Blake Snell for four players.

Those who have been disappointed in the lack of activity this MLB offseason were in for a treat late Sunday. After weeks of speculation, the San Diego Padres have acquired the starting pitcher they were seeking, reportedly close to a deal to trade for Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays. According to ESPN, the trade is pending medical reviews.

Snell, who recently turned 28, is signed for three more years at $40.8 million. He’s coming off a season in which he made 11 starts, spanning 50 innings, posting a 3.24 ERA with 63 strikeouts. His 2020 ERA total matches his career mark of 3.24 over five seasons with the Rays. His best season by far was in 2018, when he won 21 games, posted a 1.89 ERA, and won the AL Cy Young Award.

The need for the Padres to acquire a starting pitcher became more intense once it was learned that Mike Clevinger, whom the team acquired at the trade deadline this past season, would need to miss the entire 2021 season due to injury. Besides Snell, there had been speculation that the Padres were in on Sonny Gray of the Cincinnati Reds and Yu Darvish of the Chicago Cubs, among others.

Going the other way in the trade are Luis Patino, Francisco Mejia, Cole Wilcox, and Blake Hunt. Patino is the headliner in the trade, the Padres’ #3 prospect and #23 overall according to MLB Pipeline. Patino saw a little bit of major league action in 2020, getting into 11 games, including one start, and allowing 10 earned runs in 17 1/3 innings. Many thought he would compete for a spot in the Padres’ starting rotation this year, but instead he goes to the Rays in this deal.

Mejia, 25, struggled in 17 games in 2020, posting just a .322 OPS. While there was still confidence in his ability to figure it out at the major league level, his stock was clearly trending down. Still, he was in line to be the backup behind Austin Nola in 2021 and should now fill the Rays’ need for a catcher. After this trade, the Padres may want to go out and add some catching depth themselves.

The right-handed pitching Wilcox was the #7 Padres prospect, and while he’s likely a couple of years or so away from the majors, he comes as highly regarded after the Padres drafted him in the third round earlier this year and signed him for $3.3 million. Hunt, another catcher, is the 14th overall prospect in the San Diego organization.

In their quest to compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2021, the Padres now boast a starting rotation that includes Snell, Dinelson Lamet, Zach Davies, Chris Paddack, and the number five spot which could be filled by super-prospect MacKenzie Gore. While their farm system will be taking another hit, the Padres now have to be considered among National League favorites for 2021 at this point.

What do you think, Padres fans? Do you like this deal, or did the team give up too much? Let us know!