Santa Claus may have been a couple of days late, but he finally gave baseball fans a gift: A major MLB trade to discuss and debate.
The Tampa Bay Rays will be sending 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell to the San Diego Padres for pitcher Luis Patino, catcher Francisco Mejia and prospects Cole Wilcox and Blake Hunt. Maybe it's not quite a true blockbuster given that Snell's big season came two years ago and Patino and Mejia are still more prospect than proven, but it's about as blockbuster as trades go these days.
This one even comes with a little controversy mixed in given that in Snell's final appearance for the Rays -- the team that drafted him in 2011 -- manager Kevin Cash yanked him in the sixth inning against the Dodgers while Snell was pitching a dominant two-hit shutout during Game 6 of the World Series. While this trade is more about the Rays doing what they often do, trading a veteran player for lower-salaried youngsters, the Game 6 decision will hang over the franchise into the 2021 season.
It's also a fascinating trade because it has a chance to be a huge win-win trade for both clubs -- or potentially a huge loss for one side. This is about as risky a deal as general managers make these days as Snell is still under team control for three more seasons at a reasonable salary and possesses arguably the best pure stuff of any left-hander in the game, but also comes with some concerns about his durability.