The Padres trading for Blake Snell on Sunday night not only got the hot stove moving again, it may be very helpful for Ross Atkins and the Blue Jays.
After weeks of relative silence on the MLB hot stove, we saw a big trade go down on Sunday night with the Rays shipping Blake Snell to the San Diego Padres.
While the deal had nothing to do with the Blue Jays, I think it’s entirely possible that it will help Ross Atkins and the Jays front office as they look to improve the roster this offseason.
The first way that Snell’s trade helps the Blue Jays is pretty obvious, as the All-Star southpaw will no longer pitch out of the AL East. For his career, he was 4-3 with a 2.81 ERA and a 1.172 WHIP over 13 starts against the Blue Jays according to baseball reference. It won’t hurt to see a tough left-hander leave the division, even if the Blue Jays’ lineup is fairly right-hand dominant.
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Secondly, the trade should get things moving on the MLB hot stove and that should help the Blue Jays in a few different ways. Right now there haven’t been a lot of clubs outside of the Blue Jays and Mets that have shown much interest in spending money, and the longer the market takes to develop, the more teams that could jump into the fold.
Beyond those trickle down effects, I can’t help but wonder if the Padres may have opened up another opportunity for Atkins and the Blue Jays. According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Tribune, the Padres had recently been in touch with the Cubs about trading for Yu Darvish. It’s possible they could continue in that pursuit in order to build a super-rotation, but chances are that acquiring Snell will take them out of the running for Darvish, assuming he’s actually available.
And if I’m the Blue Jays, I’m jumping at the chance to call the Cubs and pick up where the Padres left off.
Darvish wouldn’t come cheap at all, as he was one of the best pitchers in the National League last season, and he has three years of contract control remaining. He’ll be paid 59 million (plus possible Cy Young incentives), but even at 34 years old, he should be worth every penny.
We know that basically every team in baseball would love to have Darvish join their rotation, but few have the prospect trade chips that the Blue Jays could offer the Cubs for the veteran. There are premium infielders like Jordan Groshans, Orelvis Martinez, Miguel Hiraldo and more, catchers such as Gabriel Moreno, Alejandro Kirk, and maybe even Danny Jansen, and Darvish is the type of needle-mover that could even see them dip into their pitching resources. Building a package around names like Simeon Woods Richardson or Alek Manoah would certainly catch the Cubs’ eye.
Of course, it remains to be seen if the Cubs are going to trade their best starting pitcher, although there have been rumours about both him and fellow starter Kyle Hendricks. If the Cubs are more interested in trying to remain competitive, perhaps that means they could ask for Lourdes Gurriel Jr., or arms that are MLB ready like Anthony Kay, or even Tom Hatch, who they traded to Toronto in July of 2019, and they might like a mulligan with the benefit of hindsight.
It’s entirely possible that Snell being traded to San Diego on Sunday will have no bearing on the Blue Jays, but I legitimately think there could be new opportunities, especially if Darvish is available. If nothing else, at least we have some MLB news.