Blake Snell’s history with the Padres dates back to his MLB draft
On December 29, 2020, the San Diego Padres acquired Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for catcher Francisco Mejía and a bundle of impressive prospects.
The Rays had drafted Snell in the first round of the 2011 MLB draft and developed him into an All-Star pitcher who won the 2018 American League Cy Young Award, baseball’s most prestigious pitching honor.
However, Snell’s connection to the Padres didn’t begin with the 2020 trade; it actually began a decade earlier, before he’d even been drafted.
On August 27, 2010, the Rays picked up outfielder Brad Hawpe, whom the Colorado Rockies had released the day before. Hawpe had been an All-Star in 2009, so the Rays took a flyer and gave him a minor-league contract. But he only appeared in 15 big-league games for the Rays, and when he became a free agent following the 2010 season, he signed with another team.
As a result of his departure, the Rays received a supplemental first-round pick in the following year’s draft. Actually, they collected supplemental picks like Beanie Babies that year. Thanks to the departures of several free agents, including Hawpe and two other future Padres, Joaquín Benoit and Chad Qualls, they ended up with seven supplemental picks. As a result, 10 of the first 60 players drafted in 2011 were Rays’ picks, including Snell, whom they selected 52nd overall.
That 52nd pick, specifically, was the one the Rays received for losing Hawpe to the Padres.
So, in a way, it’s like Snell was always meant for San Diego.