On Sunday night, the San Diego Padres went all in, acquiring 2018 Cy Young Winner Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for prospects Luis Patiño, Francisco Mejía, Blake Hunt and Cole Wilcox.
It’s obvious that the Padres want to win right now. After a flurry of moves at the trade deadline last season that brought them Mike Clevinger, Austin Nola, Mitch Moreland, Trevor Rosenthal, Jason Castro and more, they believe that they have enough pieces including Fernando Tatís Jr, Manny Machado and now a great pitching staff to win it all.
However, the rest of the National League might not agree. The Los Angeles Dodgers will likely continue their dominance in the regular season, which won’t allow San Diego to win the division in the near future. So a Wild Card spot looks like the best the Padres can do for now. The Atlanta Braves are another powerhouse and they seem to be getting better each year behind Ronald Acuña, MVP Freddie Freeman and the best pitching staff in Major League Baseball. After the Dodgers and Braves, however, the Padres seem like easily the next best team in the NL.
After acquiring Snell, San Diego’s pitching staff is capable of winning a World Series. Clevinger, Blake Snell, Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddack make up an excellent staff. Their bullpen should be one of the best in the league as it will finally be healthy for the start of the season. We know what their offense can do after an impressive 2020 which featured the debut of Slam Diego and near-MVP seasons from Tatís and Machado, so the Padres have the pieces needed to go all the way. However, it might take another year or two for their young talent to become good enough to take down the Dodgers and Braves.
If nothing else, San Diego showed the rest of the league that they should be taken seriously right now. The trade turned the Padres from probably a top-three team in the NL and fringe World Series contender to definitely a top-three team and strong World Series contender. They went from having a talented roster with one of the best farm systems in the league to a talented farm system with one of the best rosters in the league. The Padres closed the gap on the National League and are now much closer to dethroning the Dodgers in the NL West and as World Series champs.