While the Rays aren't actively shopping Snell, a source close to the left-hander told Feinsand he's already been informed a trade could happen. The 27-year-old would like to stay in Tampa Bay, the source added.
Snell won the Cy Young after a spectacular 2018 season that saw him lead the AL in wins (21) and ERA (1.89), along with a 0.97 WHIP, 2.94 FIP, and 221 strikeouts. The Rays rewarded him with a five-year, $50-million contract that covered his arbitration years but is heavily backloaded. He's scheduled to earn $39 million over the final three seasons of the deal.
Despite the Rays' recent reliance on their bullpen, Snell has remained the team's ace ever since his Cy Young-winning campaign. He posted a 3.24 ERA and 1.20 WHIP with 63 strikeouts across 11 regular-season starts during 2020. In the playoffs, Snell helped Tampa Bay to its second pennant in franchise history by recording a 3.03 ERA and holding opponents to a .194 average; he also struck out a team-leading 18 batters in the World Series.
However, the Rays' use of Snell in the playoffs caused some controversy. He didn't pitch more than 5 2/3 innings in any of his six starts, and - in a now-infamous gaffe from manager Kevin Cash - was removed from Game 6 of the World Series despite striking out nine batters and flirting with a no-hitter. Snell was visibly upset with the quick hook, and could only watch as the Los Angeles Dodgers immediately scored the series-winning run off reliever Nick Anderson.
The notoriously payroll-conscious Rays have already shed some money this winter by declining options on right-hander Charlie Morton and catcher Mike Zunino and designating outfielder Hunter Renfroe for assignment.