Brewers complete trade with Rays for controllable starting pitcher in early Deadline move

Aaron Civale is headed to the Milwaukee Brewers in an early Trade Deadline move
Tampa Bay Rays v Pittsburgh Pirates
Tampa Bay Rays v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin Berl/GettyImages

The Milwaukee Brewers have made a trade for more pitching help. Early Wednesday morning, the Brewers completed a swap with the Tampa Bay Rays to acquire right-handed starter Aaron Civale.

Jon Heyman was first to report the trade. Joel Sherman has reported that the Brewers are sending shortstop prospect Gregory Barrios to the Rays in return.

Milwaukee has desperately needed starting pitching help with Brandon Woodruff, Wade Miley, and Robert Gasser all out for the season. They've relied on rookies, which have been hit or miss, and scrap heap veterans like Dallas Keuchel. Now, they bring in a more established, successful big league arm.

Who is new Brewers pitcher Aaron Civale?

Aaron Civale comes over from the Rays, where he had a 5.07 ERA this year in 17 starts. While his numbers this year aren't very good, his expected ERA is down at a more manageable 4.15, meaning he's been the recipient of some poor luck this year.

Civale was drafted by Cleveland in the 3rd round in 2016. He made his MLB debut in 2019, when he made 10 starts with a 2.34 ERA. Cleveland traded Civale to the Rays at last year's Trade Deadline in exchange for top 100 prospect Kyle Manzardo.

Civale has another year of control remaining. He's arbitration eligible for 2025 and is making $4.9MM this season, though the Brewers will only be on the hook for slightly less than half of that.

Civale had a 3.46 ERA overall last season, but his splits upon joining the Rays were stark. With Cleveland before the trade, Civale had a 2.34 ERA. After the trade, Civale had a 5.36 ERA in 10 starts. Coupled with his 5.00+ ERA this year, and Civale has just struggled with Tampa Bay.

For whatever reason, Civale could not find success with Tampa. His fastball run value went from the 98th percentile last year to just the 7th percentile in 2024. That's an extreme drop in effectiveness of his fastball. The Brewers will have to work on making his fastball more like it was last year and they likely have a belief already they can do that.

Brewers trade away prospect Gregory Barrios

In order to get Civale, the Brewers had to part with Gregory Barrios, a shortstop for High-A Wisconsin. Barrios is having a tremendous season, hitting .325/.367/.429 with 17 doubles and 18 stolen bases. He also has struck out just 24 times all season in 231 ABs. MLB Pipeline rated Barrios as the Crew's 21st best prospect.

The Brewers signed the 20 year old Venezuelan shortstop back in 2021 and he has steadily progressed through the organization at a one level per year pace. He's broken out with the best season of his career so far in 2024.

Even though Civale's numbers this year aren't great, the Rays were able to secure a top 30 prospect because he has an extra year of team control. Civale won't be a free agent until after the 2025 season, which makes him more valuable.