The Rays and Dodgers announced a deal sending reliever Garrett Cleavinger from Los Angeles to Tampa Bay. Minor league outfielder Germán Tapia is headed back the other way. To create a spot on the 40-man roster, Tampa Bay designated reliever Luke Bard for assignment. The move frees a roster spot for the Dodgers as they look for upgrades over the next day.
Cleavinger doesn’t have a whole lot of big league experience, tallying 23 innings over the past three seasons. Four of his 27 MLB appearances have come this season, but he’s spent the bulk of the year at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Cleavinger owns a 2.79 ERA through 29 Triple-A innings on the season. He’s fanned an excellent 37.9% of opponents, but he’s also walked a massive 13.7% of batters faced.
It’s been a similar story for the 28-year-old southpaw at the big league level. He’s punched out an above-average 25.9% of opponents in the majors, but he’s doled out free passes at a 13.4% clip. Owner of a fastball that averages just shy of 96 MPH and a low-80s breaking ball with strong spin and downhill action, Cleavinger obviously has intriguing raw stuff. He’s not yet been able to control it consistently enough to carve out a permanent big leaguer roster spot. but he can bounce between Tampa Bay and Triple-A Durham for the rest of this season — his final minor league option year.
Bard, who was displaced on the roster, tossed 14 innings over eight big league outings this season. He had a 1.93 ERA but a meager 14.3% strikeout rate and an elevated 12.5% walk percentage. Bard has much better strikeout and walk numbers through 19 appearances with Durham, but marked home run troubles there have contributed to a 4.88 ERA. The 31-year-old can be traded between now and tomorrow’s deadline, but it’s likelier he’ll find himself on waivers over the next few days.
Tapia, an 18-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic, has spent the past two seasons in rookie ball. He’s a 6’2″ right-handed hitter who has played in the corner outfield thus far as a professional.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times first reported the deal.