The Tampa Bay Rays struggles of late, along with a hot streak from the Baltimore Orioles, cost them their perch atop the American League East. With their struggles, the Rays should have a new sense of urgency ahead of Tuesday's trade deadline.
While the offense has remained one of the most productive units in all of baseball, injuries and underperformance has hit their pitching staff pretty hard in 2023 especially over the last month or so. Fortunately, Tampa Bay decided to be proactive and struck a trade on Monday afternoon that is bringing Aaron Civale over while sending first base prospect Kyle Manzardo to the Guardians.
What does the Rays getting Aaron Civale mean for Tampa Bay and the Guardians?
For the Rays, the fit here is pretty straightforward. Civale has two more years of team control after 2023 and has been awesome this season with a 2.34 ERA in 13 starts with 58 strikeouts in 77 innings of work. Civale doesn't miss a lot of bats, but he doesn't give up much hard contact and his spin rates are elite.
The move is a little more puzzling for the Guardians. Sure, Kyle Manzardo is a fantastic prospect who has been coveted for the last couple of years and who could contribute in the big leagues next year. The problem is that the Guardians are just half a game back in the AL Central and they just traded away one of their best pitchers. Cleveland must love Manzardo and he is at Triple-A, so it is possible that he could get called up this year to give the Guardians a needed offensive boost.
In any case, the Rays got the impact rotation arm they really wanted at the deadline in Civale and he will be under team control for a couple extra years beyond 2023. Losing Manzardo isn't nothing, but this feels like a clear win for the Rays in a market that seems very slanted in favor of sellers.