Life can be funny and things can come full circle sometimes, even if they take a while to come back around. The San Diego Padres took three years to turn the deal that brought Blake Snell across the country into a closed loop. In one of the last days of 2020, the Rays sent Snell to San Diego in exchange for Luis Patiño, Francisco Mejía, and prospects Blake Hunt and Cole Wilcox. Hunt and Wilcox still haven't broken into the majors, Mejía is a free agent after appearing in only 50 games for the Rays this year, and Patiño, the headliner on the Padres' side of the Snell trade, was DFA'ed by the White Sox on Dec. 20.
But things can come full circle, right? On Dec. 22, the Padres claimed Patiño off of waivers, bringing him back into the organization after three years, during the same offseason when Snell is leaving in free agency. Cinematic poetry.
Padres welcome back former centerpiece of Blake Snell trade as deal comes full circle
In his three years away from the Padres organization, Patiño has struggled mightily. He pitched 101 1/3 innings for the Rays over three years for a 5.24 ERA. Before he was traded to the White Sox at the deadline this year, he pitched a last four innings in Tampa Bay and was lit up, giving up five hits, two home runs, and two walks. Things looked a little better in Chicago, where he pitched 17 2/3 innings for a 3.57 ERA, but he was designated for assignment in order to make room on the roster for Josimar Cousin.
Patiño is only 24 years old and could have many more years in the majors still in him, which could be a contributing factor in the Padres' decision to pick him up again. He was a No. 3 prospect with the Padres in 2020, so maybe the organization believes in him as a reclamation project and thinks they'll be able to find whatever glimpses of proficiency he showed as a part of their farm system.
The Padres seem dead set on not spending money this season, so from that perspective, rescuing Patiño from a forced free agency is good for both parties. They'll be able to pay him very little while trying to facilitate a comeback.