Aaron Civale's time with the Cleveland Guardians has come to an end. Cleveland has agreed to a deal that will send Civale to Tampa Bay in exchange for first base prospect Kyle Manzardo per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Manzardo is currently on the shelf with a shoulder injury but should return to action soon as also noted by Topkin.
This comes after plenty of speculation and predictions that the Guardians could move Civale ahead of Tuesday's deadline. Cleveland had been rumored to be trading at least one pitcher this entire season and with Shane Bieber on the injured list, that pitcher became Civale.
Cleveland is taking advantage of a few things with this trade. First off, Civale has been outstanding in the month of July, allowing just six runs in 37.1 innings while striking out 25 batters along the way. That is quite an impressive month of work to shop around with prospective trade partners. Additionally, it was very much a seller's market in regards to trading pitchers and Cleveland managed to acquire a player at a position of need while dealing from an area of depth.
The future of the Guardians rotation is already here in the trio of Tanner Bibee, Gavin Williams, and Logan Allen with even more arms making their way through the system. Being able to trade a player in Civale, whose value has never been higher, is the right way to do business from the Guardians' perspective.
The Guardians got an intriguing first base prospect who could be the future of the position in Cleveland.
As far as what Cleveland got in return, Kyle Manzardo has been one of the better-hitting prospects in the Rays system and was ranked as their fourth-best prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Manzardo's career slash line of .291/.392/.543 in the minors is quite impressive. It must be mentioned that 2023 has not gone particularly well for Manzardo as those numbers have tumbled to .238/.342/.442. Part of that is the normal adjustment for a 22-year first base prospect while a sore shoulder can also be considered a contributing factor.
Manzardo was ranked by The Athletic's Keith Law as the 81st overall prospect before the season had the following to say about him.
"He’s a very disciplined hitter who posts strong exit velocities without a huge swing, so his power is more line drive than big fly and he may be a 40-50 doubles guy rather than a 30 homer guy, using the whole field to keep that contact rate up."- Keith Law on Kyle Manzardo
This sounds like someone that is right up the Guardians' alley when compared to other position players currently in Cleveland. Ideally, more power will come along as he continues to develop, but Cleveland found a player that they believe fits their brand of baseball.