Blake Snell Just Dominated the Cardinals, Which Reminds Me to Talk About His Now-Unlikely Trade Future

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Blake Snell Just Dominated the Cardinals, Which Reminds Me to Talk About His Now-Unlikely Trade Future

Chicago Cubs

Padres lefty Blake Snell OWNED the Cardinals last night (7.0 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 0 R, 13 K), which is always an enjoyable thing without any other context. It was the Cardinals’ third loss in a row, and has more or less foreclosed any slim hopes they may have had of being one of the two top seeds in the National League that get an opening round bye.

But I mention him today because the outing got him back on my radar for the first time in a while and holllllly crap has he turned his season around.

Remember at mid-year how he was being discussed as a possible contract dump in some corners because of his underperformance since arriving with the Padres, the team’s massive starting pitching depth, and the substantial guaranteed money remaining in 2023 ($16.6M)? Well, I’m thinking he’s probably got significant actual value now, and I’m sure the Padres will be plenty happy to have him in the rotation next year.

Snell, 29, has a 2.42 ERA and 2.02(!) FIP in the second half, and I’d say 9 of his 12 second half starts register as “excellent.” His season ERA is down to 3.62 (7% better than league average), and his season FIP is down to 2.76 (31% better than league average). His peripherals are more or less right back in line with what he was doing in his good days with Tampa Bay.

Moreover, since those wishful-thinking rumors about a Snell trade made the rounds back in early July, the Padres have parted ways with MacKenzie Gore, Sean Manaea and Mike Clevinger have disappointed and look increasingly likely to move on in free agency, and there are no longer a bunch of upper-level starting pitching prospects atop the Padres’ prospect rankings. What was once an area of over-abundance for the Padres is now an area that they may need to ADD to this offseason.

… but hey, if the Padres feel like they desperately need to clear some salary after years of adding and adding, and instead want to increase their organizational depth, maybe Snell can be among the possible impact-starting-pitching trade targets for the Cubs this offseason?

Nah. Nah. I could imagine it maybe being a passing conversation, but I’m no longer confident that the Padres would decide they could weather Blake Snell’s departure in exchange for some added prospect depth and salary relief. I tend to think they’d rather just keep payroll inflated for at least one more year (Yu Darvish is also a free agent after 2023), and then figure it all out again after that. They are still going to be VERY much in a go-extremely-for-it window next year, and stepping down from Snell to a depth arm in exchange for flexibility in payroll and some future prospects seems like a terrible decision.

Dang.



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.