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Padres finalizing deal for Blake Snell in trade for Luis Patiño, other prospects

Blake Snell pitches for the Rays during the World Series.
(Associated Press)

The Padres made a move to replace their ace.

The team on Sunday night was close to finalizing a deal to acquire starting pitcher Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Luis Patiño, Francisco Mejía, Cole Wilcox and Blake Hunt. Multiple sources confirmed the deal, which was first reported by The Athletic.

Snell moves into the spot in the Padres’ rotation left empty when Mike Clevinger underwent Tommy John surgery last month.

The Padres’ rotation would seemingly be led by Snell, Dinelson Lamet, Zach Davies and Chris Paddack, with the final spot to be determined in spring training.

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Snell, 28, won the American League Cy Young award in 2018 and has a 2.85 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over the past three seasons. He had a 3.24 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 11 starts (50 innings) last season.

The left-hander is owed $39 million over the next three years, including $10.5 million in 2021.

The cost for Snell was three of the Padres’ top 14 prospects and Mejía, formerly a highly touted prospect who was injured most of 2020 and would have been a backup in 2021.

Patiño, who had a 5.19 ERA in 17 1/3 innings in his first season in the majors in 2020, was their third-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com.

Wilcox, a right-handed pitcher who was taken in the third round (80th overall) in this year’s draft, was considered their No. 7 prospect. His $3.3 million signing bonus was a record for a third-round pick and was comparable to the recommended money for the 20th overall pick.

Hunt, a catcher who was selected 69th overall in 2017, was ranked 14th.

Padres General Manager A.J. Preller had talked up the possibility the Padres would go into the season with the pitchers they had, but it was not a secret he was working the phones looking for a trade partner. Snell had been on the Padres’ wish list since at least last month.

While much of the focus for the Padres has for the past four years been on building a farm system that would ostensibly be able to perpetually restock the major league roster, the acquisition of Snell is added to the list of significant moves involving big-name players that Preller has made in the past three years — joining Eric Hosmer, Manny Machado and Clevinger.

Snell’s 2.85 ERA over the past three seasons is sixth-lowest in the majors among pitchers who have thrown at least 300 innings. But his 337 2/3 innings in that span rank behind 59 others.

Snell has made more than 24 starts just once in his four full big-league seasons — in his Cy Young year, when he was 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA in 31 starts. He threw a career-high 180 2/3 innings that season.

He missed time in 2019 due to surgery to remove “loose bodies” in his elbow. He went longer than six innings just twice in 23 starts in 2019.

Rays manager Kevin Cash was widely criticized for his decision to remove Snell with one out in the sixth inning with Snell having just allowed his second hit in the decisive Game 6 of this year’s World Series.

Updates

9:13 p.m. Dec. 27, 2020: This article was updated with additional information.


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