Rays Trade Star Pitcher Blake Snell

Blake+Snell+Makes+MLB+Debut+via%3A+apardavila+on+Flickr

Blake Snell Makes MLB Debut via: apardavila on Flickr

Gage Mills, Staff Writer

   In a shocking move that is bound to change the landscape for the MLB in the coming years, the Tampa Bay Rays have recently traded star pitcher Blake Snell to the San Diego Padres in exchange for four highly-touted prospects. 

   Snell, a former Cy Young Award Winner, awarded to the best pitcher in the league, is coming off a season in which he was a key piece to the Rays’ World Series run where they fell short to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Once more, he finds himself a part of another team seeking a championship – the Padres are coming off a winning season where they found some success early on, but fell short in the playoffs losing to the eventual champs in the second round. 

   However, San Diego has made some big moves this offseason outside of Snell, including trading with the Chicago Cubs for another ace in Yu Darvish. Darvish finished second in Cy Young voting last year after a pandemic-shortened season, and will be a key piece in the Padres’ rotation along with Snell.

    These two vets now find themselves alongside the core of third-baseman Manny Macahdo and breakout star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr, who both have a youthful air to their style of play. “They’re super exciting,” Snell said in an interview with ESPN. “They’re a team that plays with a lot of fun. They’re swaggy.” 

   This trade is coming off the heels of a devastating World Series game for Snell, where he pitched phenomenally into the 6th inning before being taken out of the game inexplicably by Rays manager Kevin Cash. The move eventually did not work out in their favor, and the Dodgers won the game with a final score of 3-1. However, despite being visibly frustrated after this moment, Snell kept high praise for Cash. “I love him. He’s a great manager, a great person. Maybe he should have kept me in, maybe he shouldn’t,” said Snell in an interview with Bleacher Report. Whether or not the decision to pull Snell from the game has affected their relationship at all and or led to this trade has not been disclosed by either party. 

   Losing Snell, however, would not come at a cheap price for Tampa Bay. In return, the Rays have received Luis Patiño, San Diego’s number three prospect and No. 23 overall in the league, Cole Wilcox, San Diego’s number seven prospect and a third round pick in this past year’s draft, Blake Hunt, San Diego’s No. 14 prospect, and Francisco Mejia, a former top 10 prospect. 

   Many have questioned the reasoning behind this trade, as the Rays are fresh off of a fantastic season with Snell being an essential piece to their rotation, but it is important to note the similarities between this trade and the trade that occurred in July of 2018, where the Rays moved ace pitcher Chris Archer to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for a pair of heralded prospects at the time, Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow.

    Baseball fans around the country should recognize these names, as they have become star players in the league since joining the Rays, collecting accolades, including an All-Star appearance from Austin Meadows in 2019. 

   Many believe that Tampa Bay’s departure with their ace pitcher is bound to hurt the team for the coming season, and that they are allowing division rivals such as the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays to have easier paths to the playoffs. However, if these prospects pan out to be anything like those from the Chris Archer trade, baseball in Tampa Bay has a bright future.