Blake Snell stunned but excited by move to San Diego Padres as trade finalized

Blake Snell gave up the ball in Game 6 of the World Series, shaking his head after manager Kevin Cash’s curious pitching change.

With three years left on his contract, Snell hardly considered that could be his final moment as a Tampa Bay Ray.

The San Diego Padres, determined to go all the way, just wanted him that much.

The upstart Padres ended their acquisition of the ace left-hander from the Rays on Tuesday, sending four prospects in exchange for the 2018 American League Cy Young Award winner.

The Rays will receive right-handers Luis Patino and Cole Wilcox and catchers Francisco Mejia and Blake Hunt — all well-regarded youngsters from a San Diego system that has been stocking the farm for years. The Padres parted with the quartet for a 28-year-old with World Series experience and a youthful confidence that should fit in alongside stars Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado.

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Snell gives the ascending Padres an established ace at the front of the rotation as they try to catch the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West.

San Diego also acquired Chicago Cubs starter Yu Darvish in a deal completed later Tuesday.

“They’re super exciting,” Snell said. “They’re a team that plays with a lot of fun. They’re swaggy and they can swing the bat.”

Snell went 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA in 11 starts during the pandemic-shortened 2020 regular season, then went 2-2 with a 3.03 ERA in six postseason starts for the American League champions.

He pitched spectacularly into the sixth inning of World Series Game 6 versus the Dodgers before Cash pulled him after 73 pitches. The move backfired when Los Angeles rallied for a 3-1 Series-clinching victory.

Snell stood behind Cash’s decision and reiterated that support Tuesday.

“I respect him and I’ve always trusted him,” Snell said. “He knows how to win. We got to the World Series because we won.”

Snell said he was stunned and saddened to leave Tampa Bay. He anticipated the Rays trading him before his contract expired, because the small-budget franchise was unlikely to commit to a long-term deal. But he hardly expected the move to come this soon.

“The Padres really wanted me and they were persistent, and I’m happy about that,” Snell said. “But it is something I am sad about.”

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