Padres make deal to acquire Rays pitcher Blake Snell

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell has been traded to the San Diego Padres. In exchange, the Rays are receiving Francisco Mejia, Luis Patino, Cole Wilcox, and Blake Hunt.

The Rays are receiving two players, who have limited MLB experience. They are also receiving two prospects in this deal, who have not played in an MLB game yet.

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell warms up to throw a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the 2020 World Series
Blake Snell warms up to throw a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the 2020 World Series (Photo by the Tampa Bay Rays/Instagram)

Snell has been rumored to be available in an offer for some time. His name has been mentioned in trade rumors since at least the beginning of the 2020 season.

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The Padres — which already have a stacked roster — adds a southpaw, who will help take up the loss of Mike Clevinger, who will miss the 2021 season. Clevinger will miss the 2021 season after having Tommy John surgery.

San Diego is now responsible for the rest of Snell’s contract. He is scheduled to make $10.5 million for the 2021 season.

Then, he is owed $12.5 million for the 2022 season and a $16 million salary in the final year of his contract in 2023. He signed a five-year, $50 million deal with the Rays in the spring of 2019.

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The 28-year-old Snell is a proven pitcher. He is 42-30 as a starter in 108 career starts. He has had a .324 ERA with 222 runs (200 earned runs), including 60 home runs, on 456 hits over 556 innings.

Snell has struck out 648 batters and walked 232.

This past season, Snell went 4-2 in 11 starts during the 60-game MLB coronavirus shortened season. He had allowed 19 runs (18 earned runs), including 10 home runs on 42 hits with a 3.24 ERA in 50 innings.

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He also had 63 strikeouts and 18 walks.

This upcoming season, Snell is going to be three-years removed from his lone Cy Young Award performance. In 2018, he had a breakout year, as he went 21-5 with a career-low 1.89 ERA.

In his last performance with the Rays, which came in Game 6 of the 2020 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he allowed just two hits and one run in 5 1/3 innings. He also had nine strikeouts.

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He had gotten out 16 of the Dodgers first 17 batters in Game 6. The only hit during that stretch came from Austin Barnes, which was a single.

After Barnes hit, Snell was pulled from the game by manager Kevin Cash. Snell had just thrown 73 pitches, before leaving the contest.

Following his exit, the Rays bullpen gave up the lead and eventually cost the Rays the World Series.

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“I just want the ball,” Snell said after the Game 6 loss. “I felt good. I did everything I could to prove my case to stay out there, and then for us to lose, it sucks. I want to win, and I want to win the World Series, and for us to lose, it just sucks.”

Francisco Mejía is the oldest experienced player going back to the Rays in this deal. The 25-year-old will be owned by the Rays for the next several seasons, before becoming a free agent at the end of the 2025 season.

Mejía — who was acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Indians by the Padres on July 19, 2018 — that sent Adam Cimber and Brad Hand. He has appeared in 128 MLB games.

Related: Nationals considering a trade for Kris Bryant

He has a .225 batting average with 12 home runs and 33 RBIs in the aforementioned 128 games. He also has 75 hits and 39 runs in 334 at-bats.

Luis Patino also has limited MLB experience. He went 1-0 with the Padres in 2020 with 11 appearances, including one start. He allowed 10 runs (10 earned runs), including three home runs) with a 5.19 ERA in 17 1/3rd innings.

Cole Wilcox and Blake Hunt — the two prospects in the deal — have not reached the MLB level.

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