Padres finalize deal acquiring ace Blake Snell from Rays

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, file photo, Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning in Game 6 of the baseball World Series, in Arlington, Texas. The San Diego Padres finalized their acquisition of ace left-hander Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, sending four prospects in exchange for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, file photo, Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning in Game 6 of the baseball World Series, in Arlington, Texas. The San Diego Padres finalized their acquisition of ace left-hander Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, sending four prospects in exchange for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

SAN DIEGO – Blake Snell gave up the ball in Game 6 of the World Series, shaking his head after manager Kevin Cash’s curious pitching change.

With three years left on his contract, Snell hardly considered that could be his final moment on the mound with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The San Diego Padres, determined to go all the way, just wanted him that much.

The upstart Padres finalized their acquisition of the ace left-hander from the Rays on Tuesday, sending four prospects in exchange for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner.

The Rays will receive right-handers Luis Patiño and Cole Wilcox and catchers Francisco Mejía and Blake Hunt — all well-regarded youngsters from a San Diego system that's been stocking the farm for years. The Padres parted with the quartet for a 28-year-old with World Series experience and a youthful confidence that should fit in alongside stars Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado.

“They’re super exciting,” Snell said. “They’re a team that plays with a lot of fun. They’re swaggy and they can swing the bat.”

San Diego also acquired top starter Yu Darvish from the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, giving the ascending Padres two established aces at the front of the rotation as they attempt to catch the Dodgers in the NL West.

“If we’re going to get to that level, that championship level, which the Dodgers got to last year, we’ve got some things we’ve got to work on and we’ll see how things play out,” general manager A.J. Preller said Tuesday night. “But we feel like we improved our roster and what was already a very talented roster. We feel like we’ve gotten better so far this offseason.”