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Could the Rays trade Blake Snell?

Oct 11, 2020; San Diego, California, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) reacts and bites his glove after walking Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel (10) during the fourth inning in game one of the 2020 ALCS at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 11, 2020; San Diego, California, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) reacts and bites his glove after walking Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel (10) during the fourth inning in game one of the 2020 ALCS at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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Would the Rays consider a trade for 2018 Cy Young-winning pitcher, Blake Snell?

It has been over a week since game 6 of the World Series ended, but the controversy of Snell being removed by Kevin Cash is showing no signs of going away. As the discussion, and negative fallout continues then both team and player may decide that a separation could be the only way for both to move on.

To Snell’s credit, he has not criticised Cash about the decision but many others continue to do so in the media and on social media. The wave of advice may be too compelling for Snell to ignore.

Snell said about Cash’s decision, “The hardest thing for me is I was rolling, I was in a groove. I felt like I had them guessing. It’s just tough for me. It’s going to be tough for me to accept that. I really don’t know to look at it. However you look at it, we lost.”

Corey Seager explained, on the Big Swing podcast, how pivotal a moment Snell being taken out of the game was for the Dodgers’ batters. Comments like this will pour oil on the flames for the Rays and Snell.

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The offseason may be a good time for Snell to recalibrate his view of his future. Cash is not going to dispense with his tried and tested, but not 100% infallible, system of not pitching to a batter for the third time. This may not be a system that Snell can work with and may seek a trade out of Tampa Bay for a more pitcher-friendly manager who will let him continue when he’s in a hot streak.

For the Rays, it may be an opportunity to utilise payroll in a more value-for-money way. Payroll costs are always a consideration in Tampa Bay, but the effects of COVID-19 have made this more critical. We have already seen that Charlie Morton and Mike Zunino’s contract options were not viable.

According to Spotrac, Snell’s contract is worth $11.1m in 2021. It also increases in 2022 and 2023 so the Rays may feel that Snell’s $50m over five years is not the best use of resources. It’s hard to see why a trade would not be easy as Snell’s quality has not been in question.

Snell may well decide that his future lies at the Rays but you cannot help but wait for the next game where Snell is on fire and has gone through the order twice. You can guarantee that all eyes will be on Cash as he heads to the mound.

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