The Rays made a couple moves at the MLB Trade Deadline. Here’s a recap of the deals that have gone down to bolster the team’s depth:
1. Acquired SP Aaron Civale for Top-100 prospect 1B Kyle Manzardo
In case you missed it, yesterday the Rays turned a position of strength in the minor league system — namely, LHH 1B — into a position of greatest need. Civale has high spin rates and low mileage on his arm as of late, due to various injuries. It’s a plus add that allowed the Rays to send Taj Bradley back to Triple-A and add cushion to the rotation should another injury occur.
Civale will pitch next in the rotation this weekend at Detroit.
Read more here: Tampa Bay Rays acquire RHP Aaron Civale from the Cleveland Guardians for 1B Kyle Manzardo
2. Acquired Triple-A reliever Manny Rodriguez
The Rays were able to add an MLB-ready reliever in Manny Rodriguez, who has a 41% strikeout rate over the last two months of play, and international bonus pool money in exchange for Triple-A reliever Josh Roberson, and for taking on the salary of SP Adrian Sampson.
New #Rays RP Manuel Rodriguez has impressive stuff. Uses both a 4S and a SI that can run up to 98. An upper 80’s SL with big time vertical break is the swing and miss pitch— Rays Metrics (@RaysMetrics) August 1, 2023
He’s running a 13 K/9 and a 58% GB rate in AAA right now. Can see him getting MLB innings down the stretch pic.twitter.com/gCiRSWWRwu
If the Rays choose to keep Sampson, who is coming off a knee injury, they’ll stash him in Triple-A. Either way, they’ll be on the hook for his ~$600k salary for the rest of 2023.
Read more here: Rays acquire reliever Manuel Rodriguez, International Bonus Pool space from Cubs in three-player deal
3. Traded RHP Luis Patiño to the Chicago White Sox for cash considerations
This one hurts a little. Luis Patiño was the star return in the Blake Snell trade, coming to the Rays in hopes of refining his promise into a top flight starter after being rushed through the Padres system. That never materialized, and his Rays career ends with only 21 starts across 27 appearances over three seasons.
His 40-man spot will likely go to the reinstatement of RHP Andrew Kittredge in the coming days.
4. Added Triple-A catcher Alex Jackson for Triple-A starter Evan McKendry
Brewers Triple-A catcher Alex Jackson, who got a cup of coffee last year but was outrighted back off the 40-man roster in December after multiple injuries in 2022, has been absolutely crushing homeruns this season, compiling a 121 wRC+ on the back of homers like this 471 foot blast:
On the season Jackson has a .268 ISO, with a .286/.360/.554 slash and 12 homeruns in 189 PA for the Nashville Sounds. This result was the culmination of the promise made a decade ago when ESPN tabbed Jackson as, “The best hitter in the draft class” for 2014.
The return is Evan McKendry, a right handed pitcher with a 4.00 ERA over 96.2 IP (20 appearances, 15 starts), and a 16.5% K-BB rate. If the Rays intended on promoting him, they would have before today. A prior hip injury and inconsistent velo lead his FanGraphs profile.
Jackson operates primarily as a catcher but has also played in the outfield. He spent time in the majors with the Braves and Marlins prior to his time with the Brewers, and with the ongoing injury to Francisco Mejia could make an appearance in the near future for the Rays.