Whoa, hey now, the Phillies aren’t about to let the Padres steal their thunder.
Three-way trade with the Dodgers, Phillies and Rays.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 29, 2020
Phillies get hard-throwing lefty reliever Jose Alvarado from TB.
Dodgers get lefty Garrett Cleavinger from Phillies.
Rays get infielder Dillon Paulson and a PTBNL from Dodgers.
In an acute need for relief pitching help, the Phillies turn their eyes toward a team that knows how to develop it, getting the hard throwing Jose Alvarado from the Tampa Bay Rays. They had to give up a hard throwing lefty of their own in Garrett Cleavinger, but at least Alvarado has had success on the major league level, making him more of a known quantity.
Alvarado averages in the high 90’s with his fastball, but did have some injury issues in 2020, which led to some ugly numbers on his part.
The José Alvarado acquisition is interesting in that he had a bad shoulder in 2020, lost some velocity, and was dropped from Rays roster before World Series. He's also eligible for a raise through arbitration.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) December 29, 2020
That arbitration number that Gelb mentions is projected to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million, so it’s not too much difference between him and what Cleavinger would have earned had he made the roster on Opening Day.
2018 was the more dominant year for Alvarado. That year, he struck out nearly 31% of the batters he faced, though his 11% walk rate that year was a reason for pause. It’s only gone up since then, but it’s still not all that worrisome considering he’s only throwing an inning at a time. The more concerning number is his HR/9 doubling to 2.00. Combine that with his propensity for walks and that raises some eyebrows.
Still, it’s a worthwhile gamble. The team needs established big league bullpen help now and Alvarado fits that bill. He’s still got two more years of team control after 2021, so it’s an inexpensive acquisition for the team. Should he recover from his shoulder issues and get close to his 2018 form, he’ll be a steal. These are precisely the types of players Dave Dombrowski should be looking to get.