The Conversation between Kevin Cash and Snell in the World Series
It is impossible to change history. The best team in 2020 came away victorious in this World Series. One cannot help but wonder though what was said on that mound in the 6th inning of game 6 in the World Series between Kevin Cash and Blake Snell. The lefty phenom and former Cy Young Award winner Snell was doing away with the Dodgers’ hitters like if it was a Major Leaguer facing a young high school team. They were putty in his hands. He had a masterpiece going. The fans were lost in the genius of his craft as he went high, then low, fast, slow, in, out and kept repeating the same process. Then came Cash.
The truth of the matter is that there was not much of a conversation between the two. Cash was not going to ask the young star how he felt, and if he felt he could slice through Betts, Seager, and Turner. He had brought them down so effectively over the first two times in the line-up. Many Dodger fans were at home wondering what game 7 would look like. We had Buehler. “No way can they beat us with Buehler on the mound.” Some had already convinced themselves that game 7 would be played because of Snell’s dominance. The majority felt that there had to be a way for the Dodgers to get a run and maybe 2 and win this game. There had been very little reason to cheer all game. The only two other times that fans got a chance to cheer was in the 3rd inning when Chris Taylor got a base hit to left field. Then again in the 6th when Austin Barnes led off the 6th with a single. All of that changed when Cash came in with his mind made up to remove Snell. You could hear an opportunistic yell coming from homes, the stands and deep inside of the Dodger dugout. “Let’s Go!” I could imagine them yelling inside their heads as they saw Snell walking off the mound. The baseball world could not believe it. Non-baseball fans could not understand what was going on. I mean you do not have to be a baseball fan to understand that a masterpiece had just been interrupted. A stagehand had entered the stage and had removed Mozart performing a piano concerto midway through his performance. As an observer, you know that this was not supposed to happen. But it did. The rest is history.
Let us start with Cash. You must give Kevin Cash credit for sticking with his game plan. “What was he thinking?” …you might have asked. This is what he was thinking. Everyone in Tampa’s clubhouse knew the strategy. They knew the numbers. The statistics say that the third time around:
- A pitcher’s ERA is much higher the third time around.
- The hitter’s batting average is much higher the third time around.
These stats do exist and yes they are true. What you probably do not know is that this same strategy was used all season long by Cash with support from his front office. They are a statistic driven team. They used the statistics and stuck with the game plan all year long. They did it against the Blue Jays, then again against the Yankees, against the Astros and they were not going to start changing things around in the World Series. Think about it. This is one of the lowest salary teams in the MLB and using this strategy, they managed to get to game 6 of the World Series against the best team in baseball. That same strategy had worked all year for them and throughout the playoffs. Why would he change now? You must give credit to Kevin Cash for sticking with the plan. It is what got them here and he was not going to change it so if you were wondering what that conversation sounded like on the mound, you do not have to wonder any further. The law was being followed so no conversation was needed. The clipboard had already spoken before the inning began. “Leading off: Austin Barnes, 9th batter, this is his second at bat. Followed by Betts and Seager, two of the hottest hitters, third time up to bat, get the bullpen ready.” Perhaps Kevin Cash had said, “Let’s see how he does to start off the inning, any sign of trouble and we will pull him.” So, what happened next? Austin Barnes comes up to bat, the 9th batter, and he opens up the inning with a base hit. “Okay, protocol enacted. Let us go to the pen.” In retrospect, it was the wrong move. However, what if the bullpen comes in and does what it had done throughout the playoffs? What if they come in and put up zeros all the way to the end? Then what? Then we have a game 7. Problem is it did not work out this time. Not against the best team in baseball. Who knows? Maybe he leaves him in and the Dodgers come through against a tired Snell. Mookie hits a 2-run home run followed by a Seager solo shot, etc… “Why didn’t I stick to my game plan?” It is a catch 22. We all know what happened next. You must respect the coach for sticking to his game plan and for never changing it. He took his strategy and used it to take his team all the way to the World Series. This is the reason why he won the Manager of the Year Award.
I know it has been about a month and this is old talk but I started this blog as an off season hobby in the 2nd week of November and the reason I brought this up is because on Monday I read an article talking about the Rays now shopping Snell around the league. Just like all major league teams, there were no ticket sales, food sales, and most likely merchandise. Both big and small markets were hurt financially. The Rays probably seek to get some young talent in return via trade for one of their biggest stars. It would be a smart thing to do especially if they could get some solid young arms in return for a star like Snell. It is not every day that a former Cy Young Award winner gets put on the trading block. There will be some team in the majors that has to give up 3 or 4 major league ready rookies, or a combination of major league ready talent and minor league prospects for a guy like Snell.
One look at my crystal ball says that this will be difficult for the Dodgers to trade for Snell. Or will it? The main thing is this: Will Snell be a good fit? Will he be able to pitch like he pitched in game 6 of the World Series? Does he have the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mentality? The second issue will be if the Dodgers will be willing to part with so much minor league talent for a former Cy Young Award Winner. Blake Snell is 27 years old and he is owed 40 million dollars for the next 3 years. He becomes a free agent in 2024. So, in essence it would be a 3-year deal for any team that is willing to take on that trade. If you think about it, that would be a great deal for a guy who is a former Cy Young winner. Kershaw is a former Cy Young Winner and in this current contract he was signed for just over 90 Million for 3 years. Here you would get a 27-year-old phenom for half the price. Talk about having horses for a starting lineup. Kershaw, Snell, Buehler, Urias, and May (or Gonslin). Wow! My crystal ball is a little cloudy which means that there would have to be some serious urgency and willingness on the part of Friedman to solidify this rotation for the next 3 years. Remember that the Dodgers also have Josiah Gray, the number 1 prospect for the Dodgers at AAA. The crystal ball does not lie. The Rays will want to take a big chunk of our farm talent and this might not be something the Dodgers are willing to do. However, if 2 or 3 pieces can satisfy the deal it would be worth exploring. At the end of the day it is a money issue for the Rays, and someone with a good farm is going to have to send some rookies to Tampa. Perhaps a major league ready rookie, or perhaps someone in the pipeline. The Dodgers also have David Price for 2 more years.
Where will Snell land? Only time will tell. Hopefully not with the Astros. Wait, now that I said that out loud, maybe we should get that GM on the phone?