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Elephant Rumblings: Dodgers, Rays, Phillies swing a trade

MLB news roundup

American League Championship Series Game 6: Tampa Bay Rays v. Houston Astros
Alvarado is now a Phillie
Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Good morning afternoon evening, Athletics Nation!

The San Diego Padres stole the headlines over the last couple days, making multiple blockbuster moves in their bid to catch up with the star-studded World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers. In two separate deals, they added 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell and 2020 Cy Young runner-up Yu Darvish to their starting rotation.

However, the Dodgers weren’t idle while the Padres were loading up. They also made a couple small additions to their pitching staff, with one free agent signing and one trade. The signing was reliever Tommy Kahnle, who served as a setup man for the Yankees in 2019 — the right-hander had Tommy John surgery in August, so his two-year contract is more of a long-term move for late-2021 or 2022.

As for the trade, Los Angeles joined into a three-way swap with the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday. The highlight of the deal is between the other clubs, with Rays reliever Jose Alvarado going to the Phillies — the lefty didn’t play much this summer but was a strong late-inning arm in 2017-19. The Dodgers sent a low-minors prospect (1B Dillon Paulson) to Tampa Bay, and in exchange they got pitcher Garrett Cleavinger from the Phils.

The lefty Cleavinger struck out the world in Double-A and made a brief MLB debut this summer. He allowed a homer to Robinson Cano, but Cano was cheating, so, call it a mulligan.

The Dodgers added long-term bullpen depth with Cleavinger Kahnle, and the Rays dumped another pitcher because there were getting to be too many players on their roster that you’ve heard of. The Phillies switched out one lefty for another, though notably Alvarado is actually younger than Cleavinger and won’t be expensive despite his quality track record (~$1 million in arbitration).

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Perhaps it made sense for the Rays to trade Snell simply because they were never going to allow him to maximize his value on the field by letting him pitch deep into games, and so keeping him would have been a waste

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