Dodgers trade Garrett Cleavinger to Rays for OF German Tapia; free up 40-man roster spot

We’re fewer than 28 hours from the trade deadline, and things are starting to happen in baseball. Scott Effross (who I was actually planning to write about for the Trade Deadline series) was traded to the Yankees, and the Brewers and Padres pulled off a Josh Hader deal.

The Dodgers, feeling left out, made a minor move by sending left-hander Garrett Cleavinger to the Rays for 18-year-old outfielder German Tapia.

Tapia is an interesting prospect. He’s repeating the Dominican Summer League after a rough pro debut last year: .214/.372/.262. This year, he has turned things around by hitting .329/.500/.452. He should be stateside sooner rather than later, where the player development department can really get into unlocking his potential.

At the risk of shattering the payroll, here’s a small snippet on Tapia, courtesy of Ben Badler at Baseball America:

The Dodgers have signed many a prospect with similar reports (Luis Rodriguez, anyone?), so we’ll see if they can develop Tapia into a quality prospect.

Cleavinger, 28, was a 40-man roster spot casualty, as he has spent most of his 2022 season with Triple-A Oklahoma City. He was originally acquired from the Phillies in a 3-team deal with, coincidentally, the Rays, back in December 2020. He has some ability and the Rays do a great job of unlocking pitchers’ potential, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him turn into a quality reliever in Tampa.

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The biggest impact of this trade is on the 40-man roster. The Dodgers now have an open slot ahead of tomorrow’s deadline. That isn’t by accident. Sure, they could be making some internal roster moves — Edwin Rios is on the 60-day injured list and close to returning, Justin Turner is ailing a bit, etc. — but let’s just have fun imagining that this is in preparation of the deadline, with the Dodgers hopefully adding an elite-level bat like Juan Soto. Or another bullpen arm like Scott Barlow. Or a starting pitcher like Carlos Rodon (yeah, I said it). Or maybe just another minor move or two.

We’ll see what happens, but I’m quite confident this won’t be the last trade we write about on this weblog until the offseason.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.