The Dodgers added a left-handed reliever to the 40-man roster, acquiring Garrett Cleavinger from the Phillies in a three-team trade with the Rays. The Dodgers will send minor league infielder Dillon Paulson and a player to be named later or cash to Tampa Bay.
The Phillies got left-handed pitcher Jose Alvarado from the Rays.
Cleavinger turns 27 in April, and pitched briefly for Philadelphia in 2020. He faced four batters in his one game, allowing two hits and one run, a solo home run by Robinson Cano.
In his last minor league season, Cleavinger had a 3.66 ERA in Double-A Reading, with 83 strikeouts (a 36-percent strikeout rate) and 34 walks in 51⅔ innings. He was drafted by the Orioles in the third round out of Oregon in 2015, and made his way to Philadelphia in the Jeremy Hellickson deal at the 2017 trade deadline.
Cleavinger pitched 11 games for Glendale in the Arizona Fall League in 2017, with current Dodgers assistant pitching coach Connor McGuiness as Glendale’s pitching coach.
Cleavinger missed the final half of the 2018 season and the opening month of 2019 after surgery to repair his right ACL. He increased his velocity from 90-93 mph to 93-97 mph after rehabbing from the injury. From Jim Salisbury at Baseball America in December 2019:
Cleavinger pitched at Oregon and was the Orioles’ third-round pick in 2015. He blew out the ACL in his right knee covering first base at high Class A Clearwater in June 2018. His rehab work with Phillies coaches and athletic trainers turned him into a stronger, harder-throwing pitcher.
“No one ever wants to get hurt and have surgery,” said Cleavinger, who is 6-foot-2, 220 pounds. “In the end, it made me step back, re-evaluate my mechanics and get my entire body in better shape. I’m really thankful to so many people in the organization who helped me.”
Cleavinger has 14 days of major league service time, and two option years remaining, having used an option in 2020.
Paulson is a first baseman drafted in the 13th round out of USC in 2018, and hit .243/.366/.433 with 16 home runs between both Class-A levels in 2019.