SF Giants-Tampa Bay Rays Blake Snell Trade #3
Rays Get: 1B Brandon Belt, OF Heliot Ramos, RHP Blake Rivera, $5 million
Giants Get: LHP Blake Snell, OF Kevin Kiermeier
Baseball Trade Value Simulator Winner: Giants +6.7
All teams will be hesitant to take on Kiermaier’s $11.5 million salary in 2021, $12 million salary in 2022, and $2.5 million buyout out of a $13.5 million club option for 2023. If the Giants are willing to take on salary to acquire some pieces, a Brandon Belt-Kevin Kiermeier swap already made sense. Incorporating that will a Snell trade could work too.
Belt is owed a $16 million salary in 2021 but becomes a free-agent after next season. If the Giants agreed to retain $5 million of his salary, their salaries next season could nearly offset and help the Giants acquire Snell without giving up the prospect premium one might expect.
The Rays most obvious holes this season were at first base and designated hitter. Their primary first baseman, Ji-Man Choi had an unexceptional .741 OPS and would cost the Rays roughly $2 million next season unless he’s traded or non-tendered. Their primary DH, Yoshi Tstusogo, had a mediocre .708 OPS and hit just .197. Belt would be a huge upgrade at either spot.
Belt had a career-year in 2020, leading the team in OPS and showing the potential to hit for average, power, and get on base like many thought he would years prior. However, Belt was not the only Giants first baseman to tear up the competition in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Wilmer Flores and Darin Ruf both posted an OPS well north of .800 as well.
Belt does have a 10-team no-trade clause, but the details have not been reported. If he left the Rays on his short-list then he could veto a trade. Even if he could though, the chance to play for a World Series team that plays quite a few games in Camden Yards, Fenway Park, and Yankee Stadium would seem like a great scenario for Belt, especially heading into a contract year.
After that, the Rays would lose most negotiating leverage. The Giants would be taking on $58 million in future salary commitments in a buyer’s market. In one fell swoop, the Rays could upgrade first base and clear their balance sheet of its two biggest salaries.
Ramos would still be a strong get that the Rays would want and the Giants might still be willing to part with, but after that, they would have to settle for a secondary piece. They could probably get one pitching prospect from the several 40/40+ arms that rank around 13-25 in the GIants system. Blake Rivera is probably the best fit with the Rays tendencies.
San Francisco would be taking on a substantial amount of money in this deal, but in terms of major assets, they would basically only be sacrificing Ramos for Snell. Belt was great in 2020, but has a long history of injuries, is a free agent after next season, and has viable replacements already on the roster.