Indians and Rays Swipe Right Again as Tribe Picks Up a Pair
Bob Toth | On 28, Jul 2019
For the fourth time since November, the Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays swiped right and made a match.
The two clubs announced another player swap on Sunday evening, as the Indians acquired right-handed pitcher Hunter Wood and utility infielder Christian Arroyo from the Rays in exchange for minor league outfielder Ruben Cardenas and future considerations (believed to be international bonus slot money in value of $250,000, according to MLB.com).
As part of the move, the Indians transferred right-handed pitcher Jefry Rodriguez from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list to create a 40-man roster spot. He has been out while dealing with a right shoulder strain.
Wood, a 6’1” right-handed reliever, will report to Triple-A Columbus. Arroyo will transfer to the Indians’ 60-day injured list; he is not expected to play this season while dealing with right forearm tendinitis. The deal was made in part due to the Rays needing to create a 40-man roster spot for second baseman Eric Sogard, who was picked up in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays earlier in the day.
Wood, 25, was a 29th round pick by the Rays in 2013 out of Howard College and he debuted for the club in 2017. He has been part of the revolving door of pitchers utilized by the organization as part of manager Kevin Cash’s “opener” concept and has pitched well overall through his first 49 big league appearances. He made one scoreless outing in 2017 and worked 29 times (eight starts) in 2018, earning a 1-1 record with five holds, a 3.73 ERA, and a 1.46 WHIP with 42 strikeouts and 18 walks in 41 innings of work.
He opened the 2019 season at Triple-A Durham, but was recalled two weeks into the year. He has been shuttled back and forth between their top farm affiliate via four different options already. He missed a month from May to early June on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder soreness.
So far this season for the Rays, he has pitched 17 times in relief and opened twice, going 1-1 with one hold and one save while posting a 2.48 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP with 24 strikeouts and seven walks in 29 innings pitched. In eight games at Durham this year in limited work, he was 1-0 with a 7.59 ERA and a 1.97 WHIP in eight games (10 2/3 innings).
Arroyo, 24, was dealt from his hometown club while sitting on the shelf. A former first round pick by the San Francisco Giants in the 2013 draft, he was part of the Rays’ return for star third baseman Evan Longoria following the 2017 season. The right-handed hitting infielder had appeared for the Giants in 34 games that season in his debut campaign.
Last season, Arroyo suited up 20 times for the Rays, hitting .264 with a .339 on-base percentage with two doubles, one triple, one homer, and six RBI. Prior to his injury this season, he had worked in 16 games with the Rays, posting a .220/.304/.380 slash with two doubles, two homers, and seven RBI. His numbers at Durham were more encouraging, as he boasted a .314/.381/.603 line with nine doubles, one triple, eight homers, and 29 RBI in just 33 games.
Arroyo was once a top farm prospect for the Giants and Rays, earning him a spot on MiLB.com’s organizational All-Stars for San Francisco in 2015. He has played second, short, and third during his professional career and could be a factor next season for Cleveland in a bench role or as a potential replacement to Jason Kipnis, who could become a free agent after the season if his $16.5 million option for 2020 is not picked up (Kipnis has a $2.5 million buyout attached to that final year of his contract).
Cardenas, 21, was selected in the 16th round of the draft last year by Cleveland out of Cal State Fullerton. He spent last season working in 37 games for the team’s Arizona League affiliate and five games at short-season Mahoning Valley, hitting a combined .308 over the 42 games with 15 doubles, three triples, and 30 RBI.
This season, he had performed well with the Class-A Lake County Captains, hitting .284 with a .343 OBP and a .475 slugging mark with 19 doubles, six triples, ten homers, and 54 RBI in 84 games. He is expected to report to Tampa Bay’s Class-A affiliate, the Bowling Green Hot Rods, keeping him in the Midwest League.
The Indians and Rays completed a trade earlier in the month of July when Cleveland sent international bonus slot money to Tampa for utility man Andrew Velazquez. He was assigned to Columbus and remains on the 7-day injured list there.
After the completion of the 2018 campaign, the Indians and Rays made a pair of trades less than a month apart. On November 19, the Indians received pitcher Chih-Wei Hu for minor league utility man Gionti Turner. The teams linked up again on December 13 as part of a three-way trade with Seattle, with 1B/LF Jake Bauers coming to Cleveland and 3B Yandy Diaz and pitcher Cole Sulser going to Tampa Bay. The Indians also acquired 1B/DH Carlos Santana and cash from Seattle and sent DH Edwin Encarnacion to the Mariners with a 2019 competitive balance pick.
Photo: Mike Carlson/Getty Images