Padres/Rays (AP) (12/28/20)— The San Diego Padres are close to completing a blockbuster trade to acquire star pitcher Blake Snell from the AL champion Tampa Bay Rays.
The teams have an agreement in place and Snell was told he’ll be sent to the Padres — subject to the review of medical records, according to a person familiar with the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press late Sunday night on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made.
According to The Athletic and ESPN, the Rays would receive 21-year-old pitcher Luis Patiño, catcher Francisco Mejía, pitching prospect Cole Wilcox and catching prospect Blake Hunt in return. The Athletic was first to report the players headed from San Diego to Tampa Bay if the trade is finalized.
Snell, the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner, was 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA in 11 starts during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He had 63 strikeouts in 50 innings.
Snell went 2-2 in the AL playoffs, then racked up 18 strikeouts in 10 innings and compiled a 2.70 ERA during the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was pulled from Game 6 by Rays manager Kevin Cash after throwing only 73 pitches in 5 1/3 dominant innings, a heavily criticized move that backfired when the Dodgers came back to clinch the title with a 3-1 victory.
The 28-year-old lefty has three years and $39 million remaining on a $50 million, five-year contract he signed with the small-budget Rays.
Snell would give the ascending Padres an established ace at the front of the rotation as they attempt to catch the Dodgers in the NL West.
With a young and talented core that includes shortstop Fernando Tatís Jr. and third baseman Manny Machado, the Padres finished with the second-best record in the National League this year at 37-23 — six games behind Los Angeles — and made the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
San Diego’s injury-depleted rotation was in shambles when the postseason arrived, but the Padres managed to get past St. Louis in the first round before they were swept in three games by the Dodgers in the Division Series.
Mike Clevinger, acquired from Cleveland in August, isn’t expected back from Tommy John surgery until 2022, but the Padres have other quality starters in Dinelson Lamet, Zach Davies and Chris Paddack. Left-hander MacKenzie Gore is one of baseball’s top pitching prospects, the jewel of a deep farm system.
San Diego is set to tap into that prospect depth to land Snell, who would become the latest accomplished starter traded in recent years by the cost-conscious Rays, a list that includes David Price, James Shields and Chris Archer.
It also would mark the third swap between the teams since last December, when the Rays sent Tommy Pham and Jake Cronenworth to San Diego for Hunter Renfroe, minor leaguer Xavier Edwards and a player to be named that became minor leaguer Esteban Quiroz.
Then in February, the Padres shipped Manuel Margot and a minor leaguer to Tampa Bay for Emilio Pagan.
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