Outcome of Blue Jays-Padres series could have serious trade deadline implications

Tampa Bay Rays v San Diego Padres
Tampa Bay Rays v San Diego Padres / Denis Poroy/GettyImages
2 of 2

The first and biggest one is Blake Snell, who most Blue Jays fans should be very familiar with from his time with the Tampa Bay Rays from 2016 to 2020, including his AL Cy Young-winning season in 2018.

The Padres traded for the lefty prior to the 2021 season, and after battling injuries and inconsistency in his first two years with the team, he appears to be back to his Cy Young form this year. After a rough first few starts, Snell has a 0.62 ERA over 58 innings in his last 10 starts, for a 2.71 ERA in over 100 innings on the year. He is set to be a free agent at year's end, and while it's unlikely the Blue Jays would re-sign him, he could be an excellent rental option. Although he'd only be here for this season, this could still be a very expensive move for the Jays, similar to the one they made to get David Price in 2015. In that deal, they had to give up their number 1, 13, and 22 prospects, all of whom were pitchers, in exchange for a few months of Price.

As you might remember though, this deal was well worth it and made the Blue Jays instant World Series contenders. It would certainly be risky to give up that much for only half a season of Snell, but if it makes them World Series contenders then it shouldn't matter what the price is.

Another big-name arm for the Padres that'll be a freea agent at year's end is Josh Hader. The southpaw closer had been arguably the best reliever in baseball since coming into the league with the Brewers in 2017 through the 2021 season as he had just a 2.26 ERA over 282.1 innings in that stretch.

Last year, though, he had one of the biggest slumps of any player in recent memory, since after the Padres acquired him at the deadline, he posted a 7.31 ERA in 16 innings. He bounced back in the postseason, tossing 5.1 scoreless innings and recording four saves while allowing only two baserunners over the course of three series.

In 2023 he's continued to look back to normal, with a 1.03 ERA over 35 innings. When the Padres acquired him last season all it took was two non-top 30 prospects, Dinelson Lamet, who was immediately DFA'd by Milwaukee, and Taylor Rogers, who was a well below average reliever last season. This should mean that if Hader is available and the Jays really want him, they could get him. Adding Hader to a bullpen that has already been outstanding this season could make it arguably the best unit in baseball, and since he's a lefty, this could allow them to play the matchups with him and Romano in certain situations.

The final name the Jays may want to look at is far less exciting, but interesting nonetheless, that being Seth Lugo. The righty signed as a free agent with the Padres this past offseason after spending the first seven years of his career in Queens. With the Mets, he was usually a reliever, but saw some work as a long-man at times earlier in his career, similar to how Ross Stripling was used over the past couple of seasons.

San Diego has elected to use him as a starter, where to the surprise of some, he's been really solid. Over 69 innings this season, Lugo has a 3.78 ERA and has regularly been allowed to throw around 100 pitches. He's not the type of pitcher that's going to carry your staff down the stretch, and he may not even be a starter on a postseason roster, but he could still find a role in Toronto. While their rotation has looked better as of late, it still feels a little bit fragile, and adding a guy like Lugo, who shouldn't come at a very high price, could be great insurance, and if need be, he can slot in as a really solid reliever. He's even got a player option at the end of this season, so there's a chance he could be brought back for 2024.

While the main goal right now is obviously winning games to get into the postseason, it doesn't hurt if you could make a team a seller in the process. The Padres have some really interesting pieces, and if the Blue Jays can take care of business this week, they might be more willing to put them on the market.