The Padres, about an hour ago, traded for Rays starter Blake Snell, whom Dodger fans likely remember from his Game 6 start in the 2020 World Series in which he dominated LA after a good start that quickly unraveled in Game 2.
That's pretty much what Snell is. After his best season in 2018, where he won the Cy Young Award, he's rarely pitched past the 6th inning in his starts as his numbers get worse than most starters' do when he's seeing a batting order for the 3rd time. That's why Kevin Cash wasn't, contrary to popular belief, wrong to take him out of Game 6, he was wrong to bring in a bad reliever (but that's another story for another time).
That sort of shtick works in Tampa Bay, where good relievers abound and most starters are more "bulk" guys than traditional starters, but in San Diego, where the club is more traditional, I'm not sure how well he'll do. He's also, I should point out, rarely as dominant as he was in Game 6. I'd imagine either he does fine with 25 or so good 5 inning starts or the Padres don't put a leash on him and things get ugly at the end of most of his starts.
Of course, the addition of Snell adds probably a top 20 pitcher in baseball to an already talented rotation, but the other two starters are question marks health-wise, so Dodger fans shouldn't despair quite yet. Dinelson Lamet has an obscure elbow issue and Mike Clevinger is out for 2021 getting Tommy John surgery, so that formidable rotation isn't quite as impregnable as it seems. Yes, in 2022 it will be one of the best in the league, but for 2021, at least until MacKenzie Gore is called up, the Dodgers still have a clear upper hand in the pitching depth department.
Speaking as to what San Diego gave up, well, they gave up quite a bit, and to a team that is known for ripping others off in trades. The Padres sent 2 top 10 prospects (Patino and Mejia) and at least one more top 20 prospect to Tampa Bay for 3 years of Snell and his substantial contract, which feels like a bit of an overpay, as Patino was one of the game's overall top prospects and could end up better than Snell over the next 3 years, especially with the way the Rays develop pitching. Additionally, they seem to always find an undervalued player in a trade, so I wouldn't at all be surprised to see them turn one of these prospects into an All-Star level player.
Overall, this trade is probably better for TB than for SD as it makes the Padres better in the short term but worse in the long term and does exactly what the Rays always do in finding cheap talent and then developing it at an elite level. This is what they do, and it works.
Even though the Padres just got significantly better for 2021, the Dodgers shouldn't despair, or even be all that worried. They're the reigning World Series Champions, and getting better. While the West still looks like the Dodgers' over the next 5 years, the Padres continue to edge closer.
Cover Photo: MLB Twitter Account