Rays get prospect Paulson in 3-team trade

TB sends Alvarado to Phils, acquires first baseman from LA

December 29th, 2020

The Rays stayed busy on Tuesday as the club traded left-hander José Alvarado to the Phillies as part of a three-team trade with the Dodgers. In exchange, the Rays received pitcher Garrett Cleavinger from Philadelphia and then dealt him to the Dodgers for first base prospect Dillon Paulson and a player to be named.

By trading Alvarado, the Rays have cleared another spot on the 40-man roster to make room for Luis Patiño and Francisco Mejía, who were both acquired from the Padres on Sunday in exchange for ace Blake Snell, according to sources. Once the deal with the Padres becomes official, the Rays’ 40-man roster will be full.

Rays get: 1B Dillon Paulson, player to be named
Phillies get: LHP José Alvarado
Dodgers get: LHP Garrett Cleavinger

Because of all of their injured pitchers, the Rays are valuing bulk pitchers and multi-inning relievers even more this offseason, which is why Alvarado ultimately became the odd man out. After a dominant 2018 season in which he posted a 2.39 ERA, Alvarado has battled multiple injuries and control issues and saw his ERA balloon to 4.80 in '19 and 6.00 in '20.

Alvarado, 25, is believed to be in better shape heading into the ‘21 season, but Cody Reed and Ryan Sherriff are both left-handed options who can give the Rays multiple innings out of the bullpen. A reunion with Aaron Loup is also a possibility as the Rays will likely need to look for an established left-handed reliever over the next couple of months.

On the other side, the Rays received Paulson, 23, who projects to be a decent hitter moving forward. Paulson has hit .253 with 47 doubles, 26 home runs, 125 RBIs and 124 walks over two Minor League seasons. He finished the ‘19 season with Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga.

The Rays also announced the signing of Kevan Smith, who was on the Opening Day roster and played 17 games with Tampa Bay last season. It’s a Minor League deal with an invite to big league camp for the 32-year-old Smith.

With Smith in the fold, the Rays will have Mike Zunino, Ronaldo Hernández, Mejía, Smith and non-roster invitee Joseph Odom as the catchers on the Spring Training roster.