It may be four months until April 1 and the start of the Major League Baseball season, but the San Diego Padres are making a major move this offseason to strengthen their roster, with the acquisition of highly regarded Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell.
In return for the trade of Snell, the Rays will pick up four players in return from San Diego including Luis Patino, the left-handed no. 3 prospect as well as Francisco Mejia, Cole Wilcox and Blake Hunt.
The deal is currently subject to all players involved passing physicals with their new franchise.
Padres Roster Strength
The move will mean that the San Diego Padres will start the season with one of the most talented rosters in Major League Baseball. A fact not lost on a number of Twitter followers:
Padres have control of all of the following players through 2023:
• Fernando Tatis Jr.
• Manny Machado
• Blake Snell
• Dinelson Lamet
• Wil Myers
• Trent Grisham
• Jake Cronenworth
• Chris Paddack
• Austin Nola
• MacKenzie Gore
(Hosmer and Clevinger through 2022) pic.twitter.com/PKRCPKHIwI
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) December 28, 2020
Given the quality in their current roster, and with the possibility that more talent could be added to the Padres squad over the coming months, it is little surprise that we have seen the odds shorten on them becoming a force in Major League Baseball next season.
A quick look at the current odds for the World Series 2021 winner with DraftKings Online Sportsbook reveals that the Padres are now the +1100 fourth favourites to win. That is just behind the favourites and current World Champions the Los Angeles Dodgers (+400), the New York Yankees (+550) and the Atlanta Braves (+1000).
Indeed, the Padres are now rated a better chance than Snell’s former team the Tampa Bay Rays who are +1200 in the betting ahead of the likes of the Chicago White Sox (+1300), New York Mets (+1400) and the Minnesota Twins (+1500).
At the other end of the betting scale, the Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals are all the +10,000 outsiders to claim the World Series this season.
Fresh Start for Snell After World Series Controversy
For Blake Snell though, it brings a rather unsatisfactory conclusion to his time at the Tampa Bay Rays.
After a stellar performance in Game 6 of last season’s World Series encounter with the Los Angeles Dodgers, in which Snell had struck out nine Dodgers and allowed just two hits over 5 and 1/3 innings, the 2018 Cy Young Award winner was sensationally pulled from the game by Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash, with the Rays leading a must-win game 1-0.
Nick Anderson took over as pitcher and the Dodgers scored two runs in that sixth inning and would go on to win the game 3-1 and clinch the World Series for the first time since 1988.
The decision was even more puzzling given that Snell had become the first player in World Series history to strike out nine or more batters in fewer than five innings and that this constituted a new franchise record for the Rays.
Cash received a huge amount of criticism for the decision and the Tampa Bay Rays fans were left wondering what could have been had Snell been left in the game, especially as the Dodgers went on to claim the most important trophy in pro baseball.
While the decision to trade Snell has been criticized heavily on Twitter by a number of Rays fans, there are those who feel the move was simply a cost-cutting exercise for the franchise.
Furthermore, a number of commentators state that while the loss of Snell will be acutely felt, that the Rays have acquired four genuinely talented prospects in return, while cutting a large salary from their outgoings.
It is going to be interesting to see how the season turns our for the respective franchises, but on paper, the San Diego Padres look like being one of the teams to beat when the new MLB season gets underway on April 1 2021.