The Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics, and Texas Rangers have completed a three-team trade that will bring right-handed reliever Emilio Pagan to St. Petersburg from Oakland. The Rays will also receive the Athletics’ Competitive Balance Round A selection in next year’s draft (currently slotted in at number 38 overall) and a Minor League right-hander, Rollie Lacy, from Texas. In return, Tampa Bay will send minor league southpaws Brock Burke and Kyle Bird and Minor League right-hander Yoel Espinal to the Rangers.
Pagan, 27, will join his third organization in three years. He spent just one season in Oakland after being acquired from the Mariners in the 2017-18 offseason. Though he’s moved journeyed a fair bit, Pagan has generally had useful big league results, notching a 3.85 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 across 112-1/3 innings as a Major Leaguer.
Pagan pitched in 55 games for Oakland, finishing the 2018 campaign with a 4.35 ERA/4.92 FIP to pair with a 24.1 K% and 7.3 BB% across 62 innings pitched.
The reliever has been tremendous against right-handed batters, holding them to a .192 BA/.237 OBP/.336 SLG/.573 OPS line while posting a 6.23% K/BB in his big league career. Even though Pagan shows the ability to miss plenty of bats, his kryptonite has been left-handed hitters, which have lit him up. He’s also an extreme fly-ball pitcher that’s yielded a 1.6 HR/9 at the Major League level.
Even so, JT Morgan (DRaysBay) calls Pagan an apt replacement for Sergio Romo:
Pagan makes sense as a replacement for Sergio Romo. He shouldn’t be getting the ninth inning role, but with teams like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, and Los Angeles Angels being primarily stacked with right handed batters at the top of their lineups being an opener could make some sense for the Rays against the teams they are most likely looking to compete with.
Pagan is able to pitch in multiple innings which was likely appealing to the Rays, who lean on multi-inning relievers as part of their opener strategy.
His repertoire, according to Brooks Baseball:
Emilio Pagan has thrown 1,901 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2016 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, The World Baseball Classic, Spring Training and Fall/Winter Ball. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (95mph) and Slider (86mph). He also rarely throws a Change (88mph) and Sinker (94mph).
His fourseam fastball generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers, has less armside movement than typical, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers, has slightly above average velo and has some added backspin. His slider is a prototypical pitch with few remarkable qualities. His change generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ changeups, is much firmer than usual, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ changeups and has a lot of backspin. His sinker (take this with a grain of salt because he’s only thrown 12 of them in 2018) is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers’ sinkers, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ sinkers, has well above average velo, has less armside run than typical and has little sinking action compared to a true sinker.
Mark Polishuk (MLB Trade Rumors) wrote about Lacy, saying:
The 23-year-old Lacy will join the Tampa Bay organization after spending only a brief time with the Rangers. Texas acquired Lacy in the July trade that sent Cole Hamels to the Cubs, though his results with the Rangers dropped off a bit from the numbers he posted in the Cubs’ minor league system. Some of that surely coincides with a move from Class-A to Class-A Advanced, and it’s worth noting that Lacy only totaled 28 1/3 innings in the Rangers’ system before the season ended, so it’s also a small sample of data. On the season as a whole, the right-hander worked to a 2.97 ERA with 10.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a ground-ball rate of nearly 60 percent through 109 innings between those two levels this season.
The deal cleared space on the 40-man roster for Charlie Morton, who was acquired at the 2018 MLB Winter Meetings on December 12.
On Thursday, the Rays came to terms on a Minor League deal for left-hander Jairo Labourt.
Lambourt, 24, came over to Toronto as part of the 2015 David Price trade with the Tigers. He pitched in the MLB Future’s Game in 2017 and made his Major League debut later that season. He posted a 4.76 ERA and an 11/9 K/BB across 5-2/3 innings of work last season with the White Sox’s affiliate. He will need to improve his shaky control if he wants to make it back to the majors with the Rays.