The Tampa Bay Rays continued to bolster their bullpen for the pennant race on Friday, acquiring reliever Steve Cishek from the Seattle Mariners for right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, while the Washington Nationals sent minor league pitcher McKenzie Mills to the Philadelphia Phillies for versatile veteran Howie Kendrick.
The exchange of pitchers was a surprising deal between teams that are competing for the same thing, a wild card spot in the American League. Tampa Bay began the day with the second wild card spot in the AL, with Seattle 3 1/2 games behind.
Cishek had appeared in 23 games this season for Seattle after recovering from major offseason hip surgery. Cishek was 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA, mostly working in the seventh and eighth innings out of Seattle’s bullpen. He was a closer in the past with the Marlins.
It was the second move for a reliever in as many days by Tampa Bay. On Thursday, the Rays acquired left-handed reliever Dan Jennings from the Chicago White Sox. Tampa Bay also nabbed first baseman Lucas Duda from the New York Mets on Thursday and has made a flurry of moves to bolster its roster ahead of next Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline.
As part of the Kendrick deal, the Phillies will send cash to the Nationals to cover part of the $3.55 million remaining on his $10-million salary.
The 34-year-old Kendrick is hitting .340 with two homers and 16 RBIs this season, but he has been limited to 39 games because of injuries. He didn’t play in Friday night’s 10-3 win over the Atlanta Braves after his left hand was bruised while being hit by a pitch in Wednesday’s 9-0 win over the Houston Astros. Kendrick has appeared in 24 games in left field, 10 games at second base and one at first.
Mills, a 21-year-old left-hander, is 12-2 with a 3.01 ERA in 18 starts with Class A Hagerstown and was a South Atlantic League All-Star. He was an 18th-round draft pick in 2014.
The Phillies later announced that the Baltimore Orioles acquired right-hander Jeremy Hellickson from Philadelphia for outfielder Hyun Soo Kim and double-A left-hander Garrett Cleavinger.
Philadelphia will get international amateur signing bonus pool allocation, and the Phillies will send cash to Baltimore to cover part of the $6.1 million remaining of Hellickson’s $17.2 million salary.
Hellickson is 6-5 with a 4.73 ERA in 20 starts for the Phillies this season. He was 18-15 in 52 starts over two seasons in Philadelphia.
The New York Mets have acquired reliever A.J. Ramos from the Miami Marlins for a pair of prospects, Class A pitcher Merandy Gonzalez and outfielder Ricardo Cespedes. The Mets have blown 13 of 36 save opportunities entering Friday’s game in Seattle and rank 26th in the major leagues in bullpen ERA at 4.81 Ramos, a 30-year-old right-hander, was an All-Star in 2016 and this year is 2-4 with 20 saves and a 3.63 ERA in 40 appearances for the Marlins. …
The Houston Astros put outfielder George Springer on the 10-day disabled list with quadriceps discomfort. Houston also activated left-hander Dallas Keuchel and right-hander Will Harris from the DL. ... Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price went back on the 10-day disabled list with inflammation in his left elbow. ... The Philadelphia Phillies scratched right-hander Jeremy Hellickson from his scheduled start on Friday night. Hellickson was thought likely to be traded before Monday’s non-waiver deadline.
8:25 p.m.: This article has been updated with news of Howie Kendrick’s trade to Washington.
This article was originally published at 6:25 p.m.