Tampa Bay Rays: Trade Casey Gillaspie, Acquire Dan Jennings

SEATTLE, WA - MAY 20: Reliever Dan Jennings (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - MAY 20: Reliever Dan Jennings (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Rays strengthened the bullpen Thursday morning, as they acquired left-handed reliever Dan Jennings via a trade with the White Sox for prospect Casey Gillaspie.

Seeking an impact and preferably left-handed reliever, the Tampa Bay Rays accomplished that this morning when the traded prospect Casey Gillaspie to the White Sox for Dan Jennings. To accommodate him on the 40-man roster, the Rays DFAd Diego Moreno and as well the Rays will need to make a corresponding move on the 25-man roster.

In addition, Austin Pruitt was recalled from Durham and will start in place of Jake Odorizzi against the Yankees on Friday.

Jennings throughout his career has been very effective against left-handed hitters, but this year in particular he has been very tough, holding lefties to .164/.286/.211 in 48 games. Overall, on the season, Jennings is 3-1 with a 3.45 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 44.1 innings with a 58.5% ground ball rate, holding all batters to a .215 average.

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Drafted in 2008 by the Marlins in the ninth round, Jennings made his MLB debut in 2012 with the Marlins and was traded following the 2014 season to Chicago. Since joining the Sox bullpen, Jennings is 9-7 with a 3.12 ERA and 130 strikeouts, 71 walks in 161.1 innings. Over this span, he holds a 59.1 percent ground ball rate.

Career wise, Jennings is 12-13 with a 2.86 ERA, with 214 strikeouts and 115 walks in 261.1 innings (281 appearances) holding opponents to a .253 average while giving up only 16 home runs.

Additionally, Jennings is financially affordable, earning $1.4 million this season and is controllable for two more years through arbitration.

Trading Gillaspie, who was the Rays Rays 2016 Minor League Player of the Year and their first-round pick (20th overall) in the 2014 draft, is an indication of how serious the Rays are to winning.

He had been ranked as the 74th overall prospect by Baseball America entering this season, which was based on last season when he had a slash line of .286/.387/.482 with 18 home runs and 64 RBIs with Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham.

However, Gillaspie went from the Rays tenth overall to the 14th overall prospect for Chicago on MLB.com’s mid-season rankings of the organization’s top 30 prospects due to his struggles at the plate with Durham and the progression of others throughout the organization.

In his first full season with Durham, Gillaspie has struggled mightily batting .227/.296/.357 with nine home runs and 44 RBIs in 95 games (335 at-bats).

According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays are getting a pitcher that is durable, can get both right-handed and left-handed batters out and throws many ground balls. Jennings is expected to join the Rays in time for tonight’s game against the Yankees and could make his Rays debut if needed.

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Trading Gillaspie is a strong indication of how serious the Rays are to winning now and that they are committed to improving even if it takes giving up a prospect.