On Monday night, MLB Network’s Mark Feinsand reported that the Tampa Bay Rays are open to trading ace pitcher Blake Snell. Snell is regarded as one of the best pitchers in baseball as he was an All-Star and Cy Young winner in 2018. Although the Rays’ ace is under contract for the next three seasons, the team could be looking to trade him following the World Series Game Six debacle where manager Kevin Cash pulled his starter early.
Sources: Rays open to trading Blake Snell https://t.co/xdHhGsT8NA
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) November 23, 2020
Snell was pulled with one out in the sixth inning of game six as the Rays led 1-0. Cash pulled his starter, who was at 73 pitches, due to him about to face the Dodgers lineup for the third time. Nick Anderson came on in relief only to give up two runs in the inning, which eventually led to the Dodgers winning the game and the World Series.
The World Series is over, and for the first time since 1988, the Dodgers are champions. LA wins Game 6, 3–1, behind a stellar bullpen performance, some Mookie Betts heroics, and a controversial pull of Blake Snell by Kevin Cash. Way more on this game coming to the site later.
— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) October 28, 2020
Due to Snell’s talent and contract control, any team trading for him would have to provide a significant package of prospects to acquire him. One team that has a high quantity of quality prospects would be the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox have five players that currently rank on MLB’s Top 100 Prospects list, including power hitter Andrew Vaughn who is ranked 13th overall.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) February 28, 2020
If the White Sox were to trade for Snell, any package would have to include Vaughn to start along with one of their young starting pitchers. Chicago has an advantage over other teams that may be interested in trade with the Rays as they have numerous pitchers to trade. Chicago could offer either Dylan Cease, Dane Dunning, Michael Kopech, or even Garrett Crochet to pair with Vaughn in a trade package that would feature several other prospects.
Dane Dunning struck out 28 batters over his first five career starts, the second-most by a White Sox pitcher over his first five career appearances, only behind Jason Bere (31 in 1993). #CarryTheFreight pic.twitter.com/HckAczdMBS
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 16, 2020
Depending on who the White Sox were to offer, if they were to acquire Snell, they would have arguably the best pitching staff in all of baseball. Along with Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel, Chicago would have three top-tier pitchers as Keuchel finished fifth in Cy Young voting this year, while Giolito finished seventh.
Shane Bieber unanimous winner of AL Cy Young. Dallas Keuchel (46 points) finishes 5th from the White Sox. Lucas Giolito (18 points) finishes 7th.
— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) November 11, 2020
Although the Rays have made Snell available, it appears that they are not in a total rush to trade their best pitcher. If the Rays set the market correctly, they would receive a young impact hitter and pitcher that could lead them to accept a trade.
The White Sox rebuild began in 2016 when they traded ace pitcher Chris Sale in a similar fashion to a competing Red Sox team that provided the White Sox the best prospect in all of baseball at the time in Yoan Moncada. Four years later, the White Sox could find themselves on the opposite side of the spectrum with a trade that would make them instant World Series contenders.