Blake Snell's rumored dream team would make a trade with the Cardinals more likely

If Blake Snell were to make a homecoming in free agency, it would set up a trade between the Cardinals and Mariners in a big way.
Sep 19, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) looks on
Sep 19, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) looks on / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

While Thanksgiving Day tends to be slow when it comes to baseball news, one of the Thanksgiving Day football games may have unintentionally given the St. Louis Cardinals some more indications of where pitching upgrades may come this winter.

Blake Snell was in attendance for the Seahawks-49ers game on Thursday, and when the broadcast zoomed in on the reigning Cy Young award winner, announcer Mike Tirico said, "He (Snell) is a free agent now and wants to pitch for the Mariners. He's a Seattle kid and he raised the 12th man flag here in his hometown tonight".

It has been talked about for months now, both speculatively by some and credibly reported by the likes of Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (subscription required), that the Cardinals and Mariners could pull off a trade this offseason involving the Cardinals' young bats in exchange for the Mariners pitching. If the Mariners were to pull the trigger on a Snell signing, the odds of that could skyrocket.

Seattle's rotation is arguably one of, if not the best in all of baseball already, featuring the likes of George Kirby, Luis Castillo, Logan Gilbert, Robbie Ray, Bryan Woo, and Bryce Miller, with more names like Emerson Hancock and Marco Gonzales being factors as well. If they were to add Snell to that mix, they'd be well-positioned to go out and upgrade their offense in a meaningful way.

While Seattle could try and turn their young arms into one of the big bats rumored to be traded like Juan Soto or Pete Alonso, I think it is more likely they'd look to acquire cost-controlled bats if they signed Snell. They'd have three starters on $24 million or more per year deals in Snell, Castillo, and Ray, along with a big Julio Rodriguez contract and other deals that keep growing. Adding Soto or Alonso makes a ton of sense in the short-term, but a guy like Nolan Gorman or Brendan Donovan could be the better long-term play.

Logan Gilbert carries the most value out of their young arms and would make a ton of sense to trade since he is entering his first year of arbitration and would net them a ton of assets in return. They could decide to trade a Bryan Woo or Bryce Miller instead but likely would not get a huge bat in return unless they packaged them together. They could always try to offload Robbie Ray's contract or even a smaller deal like the one Marco Gonzalez's, all things the Cardinals would have varying levels of interest in.

I'm not sure how likely it is the Mariners sign Snell, but it makes a lot of sense. The bats available in free agency that would be true difference makers are thin, so why not invest in pitching and then trade from that position of strength? If Snell really wants to come home to Seattle, that makes all of the sense in the world.

Even if Snell doesn't sign with Seattle, a trade between the Cardinals and Mariners still has a lot of potential. Their pursuit of guys like Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Sonny Gray, Tyler Glasnow, Dylan Cease, and their own interest in Snell will all play a role in this scenario, but I would continue to monitor this situation as things unfold.