The San Diego Padres officially acquired 2018 AL Cy Young Award pitcher Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday afternoon in a trade for prospects Luis Patiño, Blake Hunt and Cole Wilcox -- along with catcher Francisco Mejía.
Wait … I’m not done.
A few hours later, the Padres acquired four-time All-Star pitcher Yu Darvish from the Chicago Cubs with his personal catcher Victor Caratini and cash considerations in exchange for right-handed pitcher Zach Davies and four prospects: Outfielders Owen Caissie and Ismael Mena and shortstops Reginald Preciado and Yeison Santana.
With that said, what does that mean for the Giants, or any other team in the NL West having to take on that starting rotation?
“You’re screwed,” Rob Friedman, aka Pitching Ninja said during the latest episode of Balk Talk.
“I think both of those guys -- and then you add Dinelson Lamet, I mean holy crap. I was trying to figure out, even slider-wise, I mean, I love Snell’s slider, Yu Darvish is famously filthy, and Lamet maybe has the best slider in the game, and he is, if anything, underrated by most fans. I would not want to have to go against those guys.”
The Padres’ rotation in 2021 looks as follows:
- Yu Darvish
- Blake Snell
- Dinelson Lamet
- Chris Paddack
- MacKenzie Gore/Joey Lucchesi/Adrian Morejon/Ryan Weathers
Mike Clevinger will miss the 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last month, but signed a two-year extension through 2022.
Friedman has spoken to both Snell and Darvish before. Darvish even asked for a specific grip from 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber’s knuckle-curve grip via Twitter DM last year.
Yep, it literally all goes down in the DMs.
Shortly after the Twitter exchange, Darvish attempted the execution of this new pitch to add to a pitching repertoire that already featured 11 pitches. It was beyond successful, even though it wasn’t quite the pitch Bieber had.
“[Darvish] said he threw it as a slider, so he used the spin access that Shane Bieber was throwing his knuckle-curve, as a slider, and had his best game. If you look at his most K’s last year, it was that game,” Friedman said.
In addition to the impressive velocity Darvish offers on his fastballs, some of the movement associated with those pitches was the most impressive across MLB in 2020. Especially his “wicked two-seamer,” as Friedman describes.
Still, perhaps the most important part is the fact that Darvish is a great teammate.
“Yu is a fantastic guy, great -- understated, sense of humor,” Friedman added. “You can tell he gets along with people -- there’s nothing not to like about him.”
Friedman also said that Darvish was likable even for teams going against him. Even ... Giants fans. However, it’ll still be a tough matchup for any MLB team.
“I’m sorry y’all have to go up against them,” Friedman added.