Blake Snell Would Give Padres Another Top of the Rotation Arm
Like most Major League Baseball teams, the San Diego Padres have been quiet this winter. All of that changed last night when the team was set to acquire former American League Cy Young Award Winner Blake Snell.
The 28-year old lefthander is under contract through the 2023 season, after signing a team friendly 5-year, $50 million extension with the Tampa Bay Rays back in 2019. In five seasons with the Rays, the Seattle native has a 42-30 record with a 3.24 ERA. His best season was in 2018 when he went 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and 221 strikeouts to win the AL Cy Young Award. He immediately becomes the number one starting pitcher in the Padres rotation.
San Diego has one of the best Minor League farm systems in baseball, and this trade will cost them plenty of young prospects with upside. Luis Patino has a fastball that registers over 100 mph and he gives Tampa a legitimate young controllable power arm to dream about. El Paso Chihuahuas fans know all about Francisco Mejia, who spent part of two seasons with the team and was thought to be the Padres catcher of the future. However, he failed to demonstrate the hitting at the big league level that he showed throughout his Minor League career. He gets a fresh start in Tampa and he will have an opportunity to recapture his one-time top prospect form with the Rays. Pitcher Cole Wilcox and catcher Blake Hunt are both lower level Minor Leaguers, but both possess high ceilings are and about 2-3 years away from making their MLB debuts. All four players have an opportunity to have an impact with the Rays in time, but the Padres get the top-of-the-rotation arm they were seeking.
Apparently, San Diego's offseason is just getting started. Lin is also reporting that the Padres are working on a trade to acquire Yu Darvish from Chicago. The 34-year old is also under contract for the next three seasons and he just completed his second straight dominant season with the Cubs. If Victor Caratini is also involved (Darvish's personal catcher in Chicago) in the deal, he has the ability to play both catcher and first base.
The Padres also upgraded their middle infield in a huge way by signing Korean second baseman Ha-Seong Kim. The power hitting 25-year old hit .306 last season for the Kiwoom Heroes in the KBO with 30 home runs and 108 RBIs. The Blue Jays, Rangers, and Mets had also been linked to the middle infielder, whose MLB comps include Dansby Swanson and Paul DeJong.
If everything comes to fruition, Padres general manager A.J. Preller will have two frontline starters and a young power hitting middle infielder to add to his lineup for the 2021 season. It also means that the Padres will be in prime position to challenge the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West title.