Tampa Bay Rays acquire LHP Garrett Cleavinger from Dodgers

It looks like the Tampa Bay Rays are trying to beef up their bullpen by acquiring left-handed pitcher Garrett Cleavinger from the Los Angeles Dodgers right before the August 2nd trade deadline. The Rays will be parting ways with minor league outfielder German Tapia. Cleavinger spent his last three seasons in the majors with the Dodgers and Phillies and has been decent out of the bullpen for most of his career. The 28-year-old lefty has a career record of 2-5 and a 4.70 ERA with the Phillies and the Dodgers.

What did the Tampa Bay Rays give up?

The Rays sent their young 18-year-old outfielder, German Tapia, to the Dodgers. Tapia was hitting .329 through 26 games with the Dominican Summer League team and has the potential to move up the latter. The Rays acquire Tapia in the 2021 international signing class, and he has yet to make his debut in affiliated ball. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Rays designated Luke Bard for assignment. The right-handed reliever was 1-1, 1.93 in eight games this year.

How can Cleavinger help the Rays?

Cleavinger has spent most of this season with the Dodgers Triple-A team in Oklahoma City. While pitching in Triple-A, he has struck out 47 batters over 29 innings in 22 games, posting an 0-2 record with a 2.79 ERA.

This year with the Dodgers, Cleavinger is 0-1 with a 10.38 ERA over 4-1/3 innings. It is interesting to see the Rays trade for another lefty reliever, knowing they already have Jalen Beeks, Colin Poche, and Brooks Raley in their bullpen. As of now, Cleavinger will head to the Rays’ Triple-A in Durham until he is ready to get called up.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, “Cleavinger has some Rays’ connections via past transactions. The reliever was a third-round pick by the Orioles out of Oregon back in the 2015 draft. he was first traded to the Phillies in a July 2017 deadline deal for former Rays rookie of the year pitcher Jeremy Hellickson. The Dodgers then got him in December 2020 as part of a three-way deal in which the Rays sent lefty reliever Jose Alvarado to Philadelphia.” Hopefully, the left-handed reliever can find a home with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Right now, the Rays are 54-48 and are in third place in the American League East behind the Yankees and the Blue Jays. A Wildcard spot is the best bet for the Rays to make the postseason. As of now, the Rays hold a game and a half lead over the Cleveland Guardians for the last Wildcard spot with a lot of baseball left to play.

It is going to be a tight race for the three Wildcard spots in the American League, so it is a smart move by the Tampa Bay Rays to beef up their bullpen to ensure they are built for a long playoff run.