Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell expected trade rumors would start surfacing some time after he signed his five-year, $50-million extension prior to the 2019 season. He just didn't think it would be this soon.
"I’m aware it's going to happen at some point, so I'm ready for whenever that point is," Snell told Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times regarding a trade away from the team that drafted him 52nd overall in 2011. "I just hope it's a couple years away from now, because I love it here. So, all in all, it's a little surprising."
The 2018 AL Cy Young winner added the Rays trading him is "going to suck."
Late last month a report surfaced suggesting the Rays were open to trading Snell, who turned 28 years old on Friday. The former All-Star is owed $39 million over the next three years after earning approximately $8.7 million from the Rays over the past five seasons, according to Baseball-Reference.
"I know we thought our time was going to be these next three years," Snell continued. "But maybe they feel with what happened with COVID and how they have to spend money, they probably have to hold back a little bit for whatever reason."
Shortly after the conclusion of the World Series, the Rays announced they would not pick up Charlie Morton's $15-million team option for 2021. The right-hander has already signed a new one-year, $15-million deal with the Atlanta Braves.
"With Chuck (Morton) leaving, that's my big caution flag. We had a very good starting rotation with Chuck here, and with him not being here - and we’re on the search for starting pitching - it's definitely a bigger question mark now for me more than ever."
In 108 career starts, Snell has authored a 3.24 ERA and 3.50 FIP over 556 innings. The left-hander was also controversially lifted from the decisive Game 6 of the 2020 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.