Rays wanted to trade for Nick Pivetta, saw him as another Tyler Glasnow

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Corey Seidman
·3 min read
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AL East was all over Nick Pivetta last summer, apparently originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The AL East couldn’t get enough of Nick Pivetta, apparently.

The former Phillies starting pitcher was traded to the Red Sox last summer with prospect Connor Seabold in exchange for relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree.

It was one of the most ineffective trades in recent memory, with Workman and Hembree combining in 25 appearances here to post a 9.27 ERA and 2.42 WHIP.

Pivetta ended up making two starts for the Red Sox in late September and pitched well, allowing two runs in 10 innings with 13 K’s. This spring, he will try to win Boston’s fifth starter’s job.

Interestingly, the Tampa Bay Rays wanted Pivetta, too. The Rays have, of course, had tremendous success in recent years unlocking potential in pitchers.

At The Athletic earlier this month, Peter Gammons wrote:

Where Philadelphia organizational people think [Pivetta] simply needs a change, the Rays tried hard to beat Bloom to him; “we think he can be another Glasnow,” said a Rays official.

Bloom refers to Chaim Bloom, the former Rays executive who took over the Red Sox baseball operations after the 2019 season. Glasnow refers to Tyler Glasnow, the former top prospect of the Pirates traded to Tampa Bay with outfielder Austin Meadows at the 2018 deadline for Chris Archer in a swap that set Pittsburgh back about five years. Glasnow has a 3.32 ERA with 231 strikeouts in 174 innings as a Ray.

It makes sense that analytically driven teams like the Rays and Red Sox would see potential in Pivetta, who turned 28 on Valentine’s Day. He’s always been a high-strikeout guy, and at points in his career, Pivetta has been able to limit walks and/or keep the ball on the ground.

It may or may not all come together for Pivetta, but he’ll receive at least a few more opportunities around the bigs. Teams will always look at pitchers like Pivetta and wonder if they have the personnel or instruction to take him to the next level. They’ll look back to that 2018 season when Pivetta struck out 10.3 batters per nine innings and walked just 2.8 with a high groundball rate and wonder what if?

The other piece of that 2020 Phillies trade with the Red Sox was Seabold, a 25-year-old right-handed pitcher the Phillies drafted in the third round in 2017. Seabold has pitched well at Single A and Double A. Had he remained here, the Phillies would have had to add him to their 40-man roster this winter or else risk losing him in the Rule 5 draft. The same was true for pitcher Addison Russ, whom the Phillies traded last summer to the Yankees for long reliever David Hale.

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