The San Diego Padres got bored of waiting.
The team signed Korean free agent Ha-Seong Kim to a five-year deal worth $25 million and they went out and traded for pitchers Yu Darvish and Blake Snell.
Given how slowly this off-season has progressed, it was wild seeing San Diego bash their heads through the wall and acquire three marquee names within a matter of a couple days. Kim gives them another talent to play the infield and adding Darvish and Snell makes their pretty good rotation suddenly very good.
Most importantly, though, how does this affect the Blue Jays?
First, there’s Kim, a player who the Blue Jays were apparently viewed as a finalist for over the weekend. According to Daniel Kim, ESPN’s KBO insider, the Jays were among the teams who offered Kim a multi-year deal. Kim also added on Monday that the Jays fielded a competitive offer that was for “5+ years.”
But Kim ended up in San Diego, which is a bit odd given the fact the Padres already have Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado playing shortstop and third base. Apparently, a key for Kim was having a clause in his contract in which he couldn’t be optioned to the minors without consent, and it seems the Jays weren’t willing to go that far.
As I’ve said all along, Kim would have been a really nice add for the Jays. It isn’t often you can add a 25-year-old talent in free agency and the projections indicate that Kim should become a quality big-league player. I mean, obviously there’s some risk that he’ll struggle with the shift from the KBO to MLB, but it’s worth a gamble to potentially add a great player for nothing more than cash.
Another thing to consider is that adding Kim might have taken the Jays out of the running for Francisco Lindor. It’s difficult to imagine them investing a bunch of money to sign Kim and then going out and trading for Lindor when the latter will also almost immediately require a massive contract.
And then there are the two pitchers, Snell and Darvish.
The Blake Snell deal is hilarious because, yet again, the Rays are just going ahead and moving on from a very good player because they’re the Rays. They don’t like to pay players and Blake Snell was their most expensive commitment.
I mean, unfortunately, the Rays are probably also going to end up on top of this deal just like they did when they somewhat surprisingly traded Chris Archer to the Pirates. Tampa got Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows in return from the Pirates and Archer fell off a cliff.
But, in the short-term, the Rays have gotten quite a bit worse this off-season. They lost Charlie Morton in free agency and, of course, Snell is now a Padre. So that’s two of the team’s top three starters that led them to the World Series this fall now gone. That’s good news for other American League East clubs in 2021.
And finally, there’s Darvish, which looks like not much more than a salary dump by the Cubs. Darvish had an excellent season in 2020 but has three years and $59 million left on his contract. There’s been talk all off-season that the Cubs want to blow it up to save money, so this deal isn’t shocking at all.
The shocking part is just how little the Padres had to give up to acquire Darvish, the runner-up for the National League Cy Young award last season. The Cubs received four prospects from San Diego that were ranked No. 11, No. 13, No. 15, and No. 16 in their system.
I know the Padres have a deep system, but, uh, yikes. A comparable package from the Blue Jays would have been something like Dasan Brown, Eric Pardinho, Otto Lopez, and CJ Van Eyk.
We never heard anything about the Blue Jays being in the mix for Darvish at all. Actually, we never really heard anything tangible about Darvish being available beyond the speculation that the Cubs are cheap as fuck and they want to blow their team up because of it. It does sort of seem like the Cubs just badly wanted to get rid of Darvish’s contract, found a taker, and rolled with it rather than asking around for other offers.
Another thing to consider with this Darvish deal is what it means for teams who are looking to sell…
If you still think Cleveland will be getting a high-caliber, Major League-ready bat straight up for 1 year of Francisco Lindor, take note that Yu Darvish was just dealt for a bunch of 12-year-olds.
— Anthony Castrovince (@castrovince) December 29, 2020
In Cleveland’s case, everyone knows that the team is going to trade Lindor, so there’s virtually zero leverage for them here. We were talking about the Jays having to give up Lourdes Gurriel and a prospect like Jordan Groshans to acquire Lindor? If this Darvish deal is any indication, the Jays wouldn’t have to give up either of them.