Rays pitcher Blake Snell explained and apologized for his now viral reaction to news of the Thursday night trade of outfielder Tommy Pham to the Padres for outfielder Hunter Renfroe and prospect Xavier Edwards.
Snell was streaming video game play on the Twitch channel when he got word, put his head in his hand then said, "We gave Pham up for Renfroe and a damn slap---- prospect?, using a slang phrase for someone not good at what they do.
Another Twitch user captured the video clip and got it to social media, and it had over 800,000 views on Twitter by mid-afternoon Friday.
Snell apologized later on the gaming stream, and in response to text messages from the Tampa Bay Times, explaining that he was so frustrated over losing Pham that the return wasn’t the point of his comments.
"I apologized on there just saying I’m sorry I’m just upset we’re losing a guy like Tommy who helped our team in so many ways! Didn’t mean any disrespect to Edwards who I didn’t know who he was until after I said that. I was just sad to lose Tommy. ... Pretty much we could’ve got (Nationals star rookie Juan) Soto, I was just sad to lose Tommy. It’s tough losing someone you respect so much and enjoy being around.''
Snell also tried to clear things up directly with Edwards.
"He actually reached out to me earlier today and explained that he was a good friend of Pham’s and he kind of just reacted in that moment and said what he said, but that he didn’t mean any disrespect or any hard feelings,'' Edwards said. "I’ve got to take him at his word, and just looking forward to getting after it.''
Snell also sent an immediate apology to GM Erik Neander, who said he wished Snell’s words hadn’t come out publicly but understood given how important Pham was to the group.
"I think the intentions and what was behind that were coming from a really good place and I’m okay with that,'' Neander said. "I’m certain there were a lot of other guys that were in our clubhouse that had a similar or stronger reaction because of what Tommy Pham is and what he’s meant to them.''
Pham, known for his intense attitude, had a 21-homer, 25-steal season for the wild-card Rays, posting a .273 average and .818 OPS while leading the team with 155 hits, 33 doubles, 81 walks, a .369 on-base percentage and the 25 steals.
In his apology on Twitch, Snell reportedly called the trade “hella stupid" and said it was “super rude” to belittle Edwards.
Snell’s choice of work to describe Edwards predictably sparked creative reactions across social media, with some users producing Edwards baseball card with that description and rotowear.com already marketing a T-shirt.