Image credit: Garrett Cleavinger (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
In one of the more modest moves of the trade deadline, the Dodgers took a flier on a corner outfielder in the Dominican Summer League while the Rays added a likely modest upgrade to their bullpen.
Garrett Cleavinger, LHP
The dividing line between useful Triple-A reliever and useful MLB reliever is a thin one. The Rays have consistently liked the challenge of attempting to find value from players who are right on the edge of being either a useful big leaguer or a 40-man waiver wire candidate. Cleavinger is a fastball/slider lefty with a mid-90s fastball with modest life and a low-80s slider that is relatively effective but lacks elite movement. He’ll also sneak in a mid-70s curveball a couple of times an outing. He’s been effective against righthanded hitters (.197/.337/.324) as well as lefties (.182/.289/.384) in Triple-A. Cleavinger has an option remaining, which adds to his value in an up-and-down relief role. He has struck out 14.6 per nine innings this year, but he’s long struggled with well below-average control. This is Cleavinger’s second trade deadline deal. He was sent from the Orioles to the Phillies in the 2017 Jeremy Hellickson trade. He’s also been part of a Rays trade in the past as well, as he was part of the three-way trade in 2020 that sent Jose Alvarado to the Phillies, Cleavinger to the Dodgers and 1B Dillon Paulson to the Rays.
German Tapia, OF
Tapia is a right fielder with a plus arm, some bat speed and power projection, but also some length to his swing. He does not currently hit the ball as hard as is expected or needed for a corner outfield profile, but the hope is that he will gain significantly more strength and power as he matures. He’s a below-average runner already. Tapia has some further projection remaining, as he is somewhat lean and skinny with the chance to continue to fill out and get stronger. Tapia is in his second year in the Dominican Summer League, and was hitting .329/.500/.452 at the time of the trade. Tapia did not rank among the Rays Top 30 Prospects, and was not viewed as one of the best prospects on either of the Rays’ two Dominican Summer League clubs.