One of the best pitchers in the American League East is leaving the division.
In a late-night shocker, the Rays have agreed to send ace Blake Snell to the San Diego Padres in exchange for pitcher Luis Patino, catcher Francisco Mejia and prospects Blake Hunt and Cole Wilcox. The Athletic was first to report the agreement.
The 28-year-old former Cy Young Award winner has three years of control left, making $10.5 million in 2021, $12.5 million in 2022 and $16 million in his final season before becoming free agent eligible.
The move is similar to the one pulled off by the Red Sox heading into the 2017 season when they acquired Chris Sale, who also had three years of control, in exchange for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and two other minor leaguers.
Patino is the headliner of the package coming back to Tampa Bay, having made his big-league debut in 2020 with 11 appearances. He was ranked as the Padres' No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline.
Mejia is the highly-regarded catcher who came over from Cleveland in the Brad Hand deal two seasons ago. He has, however, struggled mightily at the major league level, going just 3-for-39 with the Padres in 2020.
Wilcox was rated as the Padres' No. 7 prospect, with the pitcher having been selected in the third-round of last June's MLB Draft out of the University of Georgia.
Hunt is another catcher who was ranked No. 14 overall in the San Diego system. A second-round pick in 2017, he hasn't played above Single-A.
With Snell gone and Charlie Morton having signed with the Braves, the Rays' rotation is anchored by Tyler Glasnow and Ryan Yarbrough.