From the outside, the San Diego Padres appear to be just a few good arms of seriously contending in the National League West. Their lineup is already primed with young bats and a boatload of MLB talent, but pitching has been one of the main reasons they cannot compete with the Dodgers.
The latest news coming out of San Diego is that they have acquired a new arm. The Padres reportedly made a deal overnight with the Tampa Bay Rays to acquire LHP Blake Snell. Dodgers fans remember Snell from the World Series where he held Los Angeles to 3 earned runs over 10 innings pitched. Of all arms available around MLB, he might be one of the best.
BREAKING: The San Diego Padres are finalizing a trade to acquire former Cy Young winner Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays for prospects.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 28, 2020
Adding Snell into the mix is huge for the Padres with the state of their rotation. Mike Clevinger underwent Tommy John surgery after trying to pitch through injuries in the 2020 postseason, and Dinelson Lamet might not be 100 percent. Lamet faces some uncertainty as he continues to fight through some biceps issues. Snell makes their rotation one of the best in baseball…in 2022.
Snell had a good bounceback year with the Rays in 2020 after a disappointing 2019 run. Through 11 starts, Snell pitched to a 3.24 ERA while striking out 11+ per 9 innings. He also saw his walk rate down to where it was when he won the AL Cy Young Award back in 2018, which is a great sign for the Padres. Unfortunately for the Rays, Snell was the guy Kevin Cash pulled early in Game 6 of the World Series. The Dodgers had been shut out until Cash pulled him in the 6th inning.
The Padres had to give up a few top MLB prospects in the deal, including Luis Patiño(#3), Francisco Mejia, Cole Wilcox(#7), and Blake Hunt(#14). Snell has three years and $40 million remaining on his deal.
The Padres getting Snell isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it almost certainly makes them more competitive. The 2020 MLB season played into San Diego’s favor early on, but it was clear that they weren’t built for depth. Mixing Snell in for the next couple of years will allow their younger guys more time to develop as well as allow guys to heal from injuries. But in my mind, they overpaid for Snell.
Regardless of whether that’s true, I wouldn’t worry as a Dodgers fan.
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