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Blake Snell on pain of leaving Rays, potential gain with Padres

Rays Tales | Snell looking back and forward as he joins San Diego. Plus, more on Jays playing in Dunedin.
Padres and former Rays pitcher Blake Snell speaks with the media during a media Zoom call on Saturday.
Padres and former Rays pitcher Blake Snell speaks with the media during a media Zoom call on Saturday. [ Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Feb. 20
Updated Feb. 20

As former Rays settle into new places, Blake Snell is the big deal.

Charlie Morton is with the Braves, farm system products Jose Alvarado with the Phillies and Nate Lowe the Rangers, and prospect Ronaldo Hernandez with the Red Sox.

But Snell is the headline attraction.

Because of his success with the Rays, the way his tenure ended with his controversial removal from Game 6 of the World Series, the magnitude of the trade to San Diego and his willingness to talk openly and often, Snell’s presence in Padres camp will be an ongoing story.

So far, he has said mostly the right things, in his introductory Zoom session and an article for The Players’ Tribune, especially about the Series game.

While excited to join the talent-laden Padres, Snell acknowledged that accepting the trade has taken time.

“It obviously still hurts because of how close I was with everyone in Tampa and how much they meant to me,” he said.

Snell said he is looking forward to the opportunity to pitch deeper into games than the Rays had allowed (less than six innings since his July 2019 elbow surgery) and that he had planned to talk to manager Kevin Cash this spring about doing so.

“It’s not hard to go past five innings,” Snell said. “I’m sure I’ll be able go past that.”

He said he sees going deep as a test of his mettle, physically and mentally.

“I want to see what’s inside of me,” Snell said. “And the only way to see that is to go deep into games, when you’re starting to be a little more fatigued and you’ve got to battle some things and try to be great doing so.”

In The Players’ Tribune article, Snell wrote that he wasn’t mad at Cash for pulling him in the sixth inning of the World Series. But seeing reliever Nick Anderson warming up took him out of the zone he’d been in: “It just triggered my mind and put all sorts of uncertainty in my head. It absolutely messed up my thought process.”

Tampa Bay Jays, eh?

The Rays did the right thing in supporting the Blue Jays’ plans to open the regular season in nearby Dunedin because of Canadian travel restrictions (and without any compensation) due to the pandemic. It was also the smart thing, given the Rays’ own plans to spend parts of future seasons in Montreal, a move that they will need the Jays to support. … With the Jays planning to sell only about 1,000 tickets per game at TD Ballpark and the Rays’ about 7,000 at Tropicana Field, there shouldn’t really be much competition, though they do overlap on 10 home dates in the first five weeks. … One odd by-product: The Yankees could stay in the same hotel for what is now a six-game trip to St. Petersburg and Dunedin. Another, if the Jays stay a second month: The Rays’ May 21-24 four-game “trip” to Dunedin.

Rays rumblings

Fernando Tatis Jr. got a 14-year, $340 million extension from the Padres at age 22. What happens if Rays uber-prospect Wander Franco, who turns 20 on March 1, is that good? … General manager Erik Neander said, based on what the Rays have been told, outfielder Randy Arozarena won’t face any Major League Baseball discipline over an offseason legal incident in Mexico. … Cash joked about appearing on Buster Olney’s ESPN podcast with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser: “I told him he’s got the smartest guy in the world and the dumbest.” … Details on spring training tickets are expected this week, and possibly more info on the “season membership” plan that is replacing the usual season ticket program. … Over/under for Rays wins per Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill: 88.5, eighth most. … Tyler Glasnow on use of a new supposedly deadened baseball: “I’m pretty stoked for it. I don’t know about anyone else, I think that’s great. … I’d love to not have more home runs hit off me.” … Six Rays prospects ranked in fangraphs.com’s top 84: Franco 1, Arozarena 4, Luis Patino 12, Vidal Brujan 24, Josh Lowe 56, Xavier Edwards 84. … Neander on working with former long-time colleague and now Red Sox boss Chaim Bloom on last week’s Ronaldo Hernandez trade: “It was different.” Neander said there was deep trust allowing them to cut to the chase. Plus, they’ve grown used to being opponents. … Outgoing St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman jabbed at the Rays over their 13-year-long, multiple-site search for a new stadium site: “We love our Rays, but it’s time for them to pick a partner and get married.” … Lefty Ryan Yarbrough faces a tough decision on keeping his new long-hair look: “I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback so far from teammates, maybe not so much from the wife (Nicole).” … Incentives with Oliver Drake’s $775,000 contract tied to days on the active roster: $100,000 at 30, $100,000 at 40, $125,000 at 50. Chris Archer gets a $100,000 bonus for winning the Cy Young award … Former Ray Fernando Perez joined the Giants’ staff as a video analyst.