On Monday, the largest MLB offseason transaction to date occurred when the Tampa Bay Rays dealt former Cy Young winner Blake Snell to the San Diego Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Luis Patiño and Cole Wilcox, as well as catchers Francisco Mejia and Blake Hunt. Previously, San Diego has been in trade talks when it comes to Chicago Cubs’ Yu Darvish and Cincinnati Reds’ Sonny Gray.
With the trade, the Padres are clearly in win-now mode. During the shortened 2020 season, they surpassed the St. Louis Cardinals in three games, but were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers during the National League Divisional Series.
Snell, a first-round pick during the 2011 MLB Draft, is owed $39 million across the next three seasons. In five MLB seasons, he holds a 42-30 record along with a 3.24 ERA. He will join a rotation that includes Zach Davies (7-4, 2.73 ERA), Dinelson Lamet (3-1, 2.09 ERA) and Chris Paddack (4-5, 4.73 ERA). Standout pitcher Mike Clevinger underwent Tommy John surgery in November, and is scheduled to miss the 2021 season.
This trade doesn’t occur unless San Diego is aiming to compete with the likes of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves in the National League. Last season marked the team’s first postseason appearance since 2006, and their first postseason win since 1998.
The window is clear: Snell is signed through the next three seasons, while Clevinger is signed through the 2022 campaign. Without a World Series, this will be a failed experiment.