Aaron Civale trades with Brewers

DENVER — The Brewers, who have led the National League Central every day since early May despite a series of injuries to their starting pitchers, made another move to bolster that group on Wednesday when they acquired right-handed pitcher Aaron Civale in a trade with the Rays for infield prospect Gregory Barrios, who was ranked No. 21 on MLB Pipeline’s list of Milwaukee’s top 30 prospects.

Getting Rays: INF Gregory Barrios (Milwaukee’s #21 prospect)
Brewers get: RHP-Aaron Civale

He had a 3.77 ERA in parts of five seasons with the Guardians before they dealt him to the Rays at the 2023 deadline for minor leaguer Kyle Manzardo, who was MLB Pipeline’s No. 37 prospect at the time. But Civale hasn’t had the same success in Tampa, where he has a 5.17 ERA in 27 starts, including a 2-6 5.07 ERA this season, while his most used pitch, a cutter, has held a .301 average against opponents.

Civale last pitched on Saturday, allowing two earned runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Nationals. He is expected to join the Brewers for their next series in Los Angeles and start Friday or Saturday against the Dodgers, Milwaukee manager Pat Murphy said.

He’ll be another option for the Brewers, who knew they’d be without longtime co-ace Brandon Woodruff (shoulder surgery) when they traded former Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes to the Orioles just before the start of Spring Training. They planned to make up for the loss of those longtime producers with depth, but that depth has been sorely tested.

Two lefties, veteran Wade Miley and prospect Robert Gasser, underwent Tommy John surgery and are lost for the year. DL Hall, one of two major league-ready prospects acquired for Burnes, has spent most of this season on the IL with a knee injury, though he is currently nearing a return. And two veteran righties have also missed significant time; Joe Ross is on the 60-day IL with a back injury, and Jakob Junis has spent more than two months on the IL with a shoulder injury and has been pitching out of the bullpen since returning late last month.

Against that backdrop, it was not surprising that when Murphy was asked what he liked most about Civale, he replied, “He’s a pitcher.”

“This guy has a reputation for getting the ball and running every time,” Murphy said. “I think he fits in. I really do. My opinion on the trade deadline is, don’t take them unless they’re the right guys. Don’t take them unless it fits with what’s going on here.”

Barrios, one of the Brewers’ top players out of Venezuela during the 2020-21 international transfer window, has an OPS of .796 this season at High-A Wisconsin while playing primarily at shortstop.

“I love to [make a trade] “Early as you can,” Murphy said. “The guy we traded, Barrios, he’s a good player, man. They got a good player. He can defend and his numbers are good in a tough league to bat in. He’s doing a great job.

“Trades are supposed to be like that, right? Both teams should get a good player.”

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