If the Tampa Bay Rays are trying to trade Blake Snell, the SF Giants should be among the top contenders. Marc Delucchi examines what combinations of players and prospects could get a deal done?
Tampa Bay Rays southpaw Blake Snell has been one of the best starters in baseball since debuting in 2016. While his 2018 Cy Young season remains an aberration, over his career, Snell has struck out 648, walked just 232, and held opponents with a 3.24 ERA over 556 innings pitched. Needless to say, when a report suggested the Rays are open to moving the soon to be 28-year old, fans around the country took notice.
Prior to the 2019 season, Snell signed a long-term extension with Tampa Bay, but with three-years and $42 million left on the deal, the Rays front office may be looking to clear payroll. On the heels of a solid 2020 campaign, Snell would immediately become the most desirable pitcher on the trade market.
Snell is a very good value on his current deal, but MLB owners remain unwilling to commit much to their payrolls in the aftermath of decreases in revenue and attempt to ice players out of leverage entering Collective Bargaining negotiations. Given Tampa Bay’s long track-record of cheapness, the revenue declines in the COVID-19 impacted season likely will only accentuate their attempts to dump money.
The Rays will want a significant return for their ace. It’s worth pointing out that they have fleeced teams when they decided to trade big-league starters like Chris Archer and Matt Moore in the past. However, it’s hard to know how much a potential Snell trade is influenced by unexpected financial pressures from ownership.
Constructing a package to entice the Rays is a complicated enterprise. Coming off a World Series appearance, they will obviously target top prospects, but probably want to get players back they can see helping them relatively soon as well. With one of the best farm systems in baseball, Tampa Bay can be picky and target areas of need.
Luckily, their biggest holes on the MLB roster align with the Giants strengths. Corner outfield, first base, designated hitter, and catcher were easily the biggest holes on the Rays roster. San Francisco has assembled depth at all of those spots.