HomeMLB RumorsRays Acquire Richard Lovelady From Cubs

Rays Acquire Richard Lovelady From Cubs

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The Rays and Cubs have agreed to a swap of left-handers, as the Rays announced that Richard Lovelady has been acquired in exchange for minor leaguer Jeff Belge.  In a corresponding move, right-hander Jacob Waguespack was transferred to Tampa Bay’s 60-day injured list to create room on the 40-man roster.

Chicago designated Lovelady for assignment earlier this week, and today’s trade will officially end his Wrigleyville tenure after seven appearances.  Lovelady signed a minor league contract with the Cubs over the offseason, and the team’s spate of bullpen injuries created another opportunity for the southpaw in the Show, as his contract was selected to the 26-man roster at the end of April.  Unfortunately for Lovelady, he posted a 7.94 ERA over his 5 2/3 innings with Chicago, making him expendable when the Cubs needed a roster spot for the newly-acquired Tyson Miller.

Lovelady has pitched in five of the last six MLB seasons, with a 5.48 ERA across his 70 2/3 innings as a big leaguer.  The home run ball has presented some problems for Lovelady and he isn’t a particularly hard thrower, yet some elements to his game hint at the potential for more consistent effectiveness.  Lovelady has a 49.8% grounder rate at the Major League level, as well as solid strikeout (22.7%) and walk (8.8%) rates.

If any team can make Lovelady a late bloomer as he approaches his 29th birthday, it might be the Rays, given their history of turning unheralded pitchers into quality contributors.  Lovelady is in his final minor league option year, so Tampa Bay has some flexibility in moving him between the majors and minors as circumstances warrant.  Garrett Cleavinger is the only other southpaw in the Rays’ bullpen, so Lovelady will bring some more depth against lefty-swinging batters.

The 26-year-old Belge was an 18th-round pick for the Dodgers in the 2019 draft, and he came to Tampa in the December 2022 trade that sent J.P. Feyereisen to Los Angeles.  Working almost exclusively as a relief pitcher in his 165 1/3 minor league innings, Belge has a 3.81 ERA and an impressive 32.59% strikeout rate, though his 14.56% walk rate is also inflated.  Belge has pitched with Double-A Montgomery for the last two seasons and has yet to make his Triple-A debut.

Waguespack was placed on the 15-day IL on May 6 due to inflammation in his right rotator cuff.  The issue is serious enough that he’ll need at least a 60-day stint to fully recover, so he’ll be out of action until the second week of July at the earliest.  Waguespack has a 5.40 ERA across 10 innings and four appearances with Tampa Bay this season, which marked his first MLB action since 2020.  The interim three seasons were spent in the Blue Jays’ farm system and then with the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball.


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