Why the SF Giants should not have traded for Blake Snell
If the SF Giants had traded for Blake Snell, they would have been doing so in hopes he could help lead a team fueled by their strong farm system. But trading for Snell may have depleted that farm system too much to stomach, especially since their eventual title-contention hopes rest on their farm system’s success.
To put it simply, the Padres gave up a lot to get Snell. They parted with prized 21-year-old RHP Luis Patiño, who MLB.com ranks as the 23rd best prospect in baseball. 2020 3rd round draft pick RHP Cole Wilcox, only 21 years old and considered by many to be a first-round talent, was included. Also traded was a 25-year-old bounce-back candidate in catcher Francisco Mejia, an elite prospect as recently as 2018 when he was ranked the 26th best prospect in baseball by MLB.com. The package’s final piece was catcher Blake Hunt, formerly the Padres 14th best prospect as rated by MLB.com.
Considering that this was the package it took to land Snell, what might a similar package from the Giants have looked like? I’m throwing shots in the dark here, but such an exercise may illuminate why the Giants had good reason to not pursue Snell.
The centerpiece of a Giants’ trade package could have been Joey Bart. Like Patiño, he is a consensus top prospect in baseball, and he would have filled the Rays’ obvious need and desire for catching. Like Wilcox, Kyle Harrison was paid like a first-round talent in the 2020 draft who fell to the 3rd round.
Logan Webb is obviously not a catcher and never was regarded as well as Mejia was. Still, like Mejia, he is a former well-regarded prospect who has had recent struggles at the major league level. Webb doesn’t have Mejia’s pedigree, but he has had more recent success, so let’s add him to our imaginary package. And let’s cap off this package with Will Wilson in place of Hunt.
Of course, the Rays may have no interest in any of these players. Maybe Webb’s low spin rates and intense pitching face are dealbreakers for Tampa. Maybe Wilson once got in such a bad fight with the consensus top prospect in baseball, Rays’ Wander Franco, over DMs that the Rays wouldn’t even consider trading for him now. Or maybe there are other reasons (maybe even baseball reasons) that this package, and possibly other similar Giants packages, wouldn’t have been enough to sway the Rays.
Maybe if the Giants had entered the bidding, it would’ve driven the price up so high the Rays could have had their choice between San Francisco’s teenage uber-prospect Marco Luciano (MLB.com’s 29th ranked prospect) and MacKenzie Gore. Yikes.
Or I might have simply chosen all the wrong players, and both front offices would be laughing at me right now. If you’re laughing at me too, I hear you. My insight might not be completely flawless. And don’t hold me to this package!
All mentions of Webb’s pitching face, DM fights, and joking aside, I do think this package is roughly representative of what the Giants could have done to match the Padres offer—to guarantee landing Snell, they likely would have needed to give up more.
In any case of the Giants’ trading for Snell, parting with a top prospect like Bart and a few other good young players such as Webb and Wilson would almost certainly be givens.
And what may have been even harder to stomach would have been giving up another highly regarded prospect such as 19-year-old Harrison, who is on the rise with plus command and a fastball which recently topped out at 97 mph at instructional league.
Even if it wasn’t Harrison the Giants would have given up, judging by Wilcox’s inclusion in the Padres package, the Giants would have required to give up another top-10 prospect. That could have been one prospect too high in cost.
So ultimately, regardless of what specific package the Giants gave up, it probably would’ve been a lot. And a lot would have been too much for this Giants team right now to afford.
The Padres may be realistically competing for a world championship right now, so win-now moves at such high costs in prospects make sense for them at this time (especially considering the might of their farm system).
But the Giants are probably a year, or two, or three away from sustainably competing with the Padres and Dodgers for world championships.
SF Giants will need to ride their farm system to reach those heights in the coming years, so despite Blake Snell’s potential, trading for him probably would have cost too much in that department to make such a trade worthwhile.