Former Guardians pitcher on the move to NL Central

Tampa Bay Rays v Pittsburgh Pirates
Tampa Bay Rays v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin Berl/GettyImages

In a move that seemingly came out of nowhere, the Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to terms on a deal that sends former Cleveland Guardians right-handed pitcher Aaron Civale to the Milwaukee Brewers. The two sides finalized the trade on Wednesday morning, with Civale going to Milwaukee in exchange for a minor-league infielder.

This trade comes at a time when the Rays are fading from relevance in the American League East and may be approaching full-on sale mode. For the Brewers, they are looking to separate themselves from the rest of the National League Central and believe that Civale could help make that possible.

It has been a rough go of things for Civale since being traded to Tampa last season. Civale saw his ERA and WHIP go from 2.34 and 1.039 with Cleveland in 2023 to 5.17 and 1.375 in 27 games with the Rays. It is pretty safe to say the Rays did get what they were expecting out of Civale in his time with the organization.

Revisiting last year's trade for the Guardians

The Guardians sent Civale to Tampa last season at the deadline in exchange for first base prospect Kyle Manzardo. Many were up in arms at the time due to the illusion of Cleveland being in playoff contention. The fact of the matter is that they were not truly in the mix for the postseason despite what their record may have been at the time. Selling high on Civale last year was absolutely the right move for the Guardians, and the Rays now doing the complete opposite (selling low) is clear proof of that.

Yes, Cleveland's end of the trade is still somewhat of a mystery. Manzardo has a few things to work out, as his .207/.241/.329 slash line in 30 major league games shows. The good news is that Manzardo is still just 23 years old, and time is on their side. Time will tell if Cleveland will come out the other side of this deal as a winner, but one thing is abundantly clear, and that is the Rays can be considered on the losing side of last year's deadline deal.