Rays open to trading Blake Snell
Last we saw Blake Snell, the lefty was rolling through the Dodgers in a must-win World Series game before being pulled with just one out in the sixth in one of the most controversial managerial decisions in recent baseball history. That may also end up being the last time we see the former Cy Young award winner in a Rays uniform. On Monday, it was reported that the Rays could be open to trading Snell at some point over the winter.
To be clear, the linked report indicates they are not “actively shopping” Snell, but rather that they would be open to offers coming in. This, of course, is often how these things start. I recall a similar series of events leading up to what we’ll call the Bookie Metts trade. This is the rare kind of news that takes the baseball world by storm but also is not really a surprise at all. When Snell signed his extension with the Rays a few years ago, the common half-joke was that he’d be traded as soon as that contract started to get expensive. He’s owed $11.1 million in 2021, $13.1 million in 2022, and $16.6 million in 2023.
This is not a ridiculous contract, of course, as Snell will still only be 28 next season, has that aforementioned Cy Young and has been one of the better pitchers in the game peripherally speaking for the last three years. That’s not to say he’s a slam dunk, of course. Along with the success Snell has dealt with some injuries and the results in 2019 were not exactly encouraging as he finished the year with a 107 ERA+. Still, given his upside, name recognition, age and relative fairness of his contract, if these talks are indeed on the table there will be a long line of teams looking to be on the receiving end in this deal.
As for the Red Sox, they should be in on these talks but I can’t imagine they would end up with the lefty. Part of that is the extra difficulty that comes with trading between division rivals, though that could be canceled out by the fact that Chaim Bloom should have a stronger sense of the Rays farm system, a quality that could be particularly handy this winter after a lack of a minor-league system. The issue is more farm depth. Boston has the prospects to get this done if they want to, but they don’t really have the depth to have a ton left standing after this kind of deal. I’d be a little surprised — not totally shocked, but a bit surprised — if they were willing to give all that up ahead of a year where, frankly, we don’t even know what their goal is in terms of being competitive.
That said, the Red Sox win no matter what, assuming it is a non-AL East team he’d end up on if a trade does happen. Snell has been great against the Red Sox with a 2.59 ERA against them over his career.
Kohei Arihara to be posted
More pitching news came down on Monday, as Jon Morosi reported that the Nippon-Ham Fighters are going to be posting pitcher Kohei Arihara this winter. Arihara has been a top arm in Japan for years now, with the now 28-year-old having been pitching in the NPB since he was 22. This past year, he pitched to a 3.48 ERA, and over his entire career he has a 3.65 ERA with about seven strikeouts per nine innings and two walks per nine.
Arihara doesn’t have a massive ceiling that indicates teams will be able to place him right at the top of their rotation, but with a good five-pitch mix including a really good changeup, most scouts seem to see him as a mid-rotation arm. The righty has spent his entire professional career to this point with the Fighters.
At this point, it’s unclear when exactly he’ll be posted, but teams have until December 5 to officially post a player. Once said player is posted, MLB teams have 30 days to negotiate with the player. Under the newer posting rules. there is no set posting fee but rather with a mildly confusing rate system I’ll try my hand at explaining. If a player signs for $25 million or less, the posting club receives 20 percent of that salary as a fee. If the player signs for anything above $25 million but no more than $50 million, the posting club receives 20 percent on the first $25 million and then 17.5 percent on the remaining value of the contract. And if the player’s deal is for more than $50 million, the posting club gets 20 percent on the first $25 million, 17.5 percent of the next $25 million, and 15 percent of the remaining value.
I won’t pretend to be an expert here, but given the age and the success in Japan one would have to imagine the Red Sox will be interested here.