Rays Acquire Aaron Civale for Top 100 Prospect Kyle Manzardo

The Cleveland Guardians were able to turn Aaron Civale into a bat that their farm system desperately needed, who could be up sooner than later.

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 19: Aaron Civale #43 of the Cleveland Guardians pitches in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during inter-league play at PNC Park on July 19, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The first trade on Monday trickled in just shy of 4 pm when the Tampa Bay Rays acquired starting pitcher Aaron Civale for first base prospect Kyle Manzardo.

Civale has been a solid starter throughout his career and is currently pitching to a career best 2.34 ERA and 3.55 FIP. He does not have overpowering stuff and will not be confused with a strikeout pitcher, but has been reliable and a guy you know you can count on. Civale has four pitches he normally mixes in and also works a slider to righties and splitter to lefties from time to time.

The Rays not only get another arm with plenty of experience, but they get two additional years of control with Civale not hitting free agency until after the 2025 season. It will be interesting to see if Tampa can find a way to have his stuff play up like they often do with other pitchers.

The Guardians did very well with this return. Manzardo, 23, is Just Baseball’s No. 53 prospect. A lefty bat with a plus hit tool and plus power. After hitting over .320 with 23 home runs across two levels in 2022, Manzardo has struggled a bit in Triple-A slashing .238/.342/.442 with 11 home runs.

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Tampa Bay gets an arm to help them rely less on Taj Bradley while also sustaining injuries and providing additional insurance to the Shane Baz injuries. For Cleveland, they have a near major league ready bat, a profile they typically covet. This return is more than what many thought the Guardians would get. Could be a sign of how difficult the market is for buyers, and starting pitching never comes cheap.