Phillies acquire Joel Cesar to complete Austin Davis trade

Joel Cesar in May 2019 in Portland, Maine. (Photo by Zachary Roy/Getty Images)
Joel Cesar in May 2019 in Portland, Maine. (Photo by Zachary Roy/Getty Images) /

Last month’s Phillies-Pirates trade involving LHP Austin Davis was finally completed on Sunday

It is hard to believe, but exactly one week remains of the shortened 2020 Major League Baseball season. And, nearly three weeks have passed since the August 31 trade deadline. Among the slew of trades that Philadelphia Phillies general manager Matt Klentak made was dealing southpaw reliever Austin Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations and a player to be named later.

Such player had not been named until Sunday; according to The Athletic’s Meghan Montemurro the Phillies will receive right-handed minor-league reliever Joel Cesar.

The 24-year-old Dominican Republic native has been added to the Phillies’ 60-man player pool and will report to their alternate training site in Lehigh Valley. Spanning 28 appearances (including one start), last season at the Double-A level, he posted a 3.76 ERA, 8.5 K/9, and 2.8 BB/9.

NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury describes Cesar as having a “power arm,” having flashed a triple-digit fastball. However, he continues, his stuff is “considered quite raw.”

In four appearances and three innings this season in red pinstripes, Davis yielded 10 hits, seven runs (all earned), one home run, and one walk en route to a 21.00 ERA and 3.667 WHIP.

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Davis spent most of last season at the Triple-A Lehigh Valley level, going 4-1 with a 2.75 ERA; at the majors in 2019, he posted a 6.53 ERA across 14 appearances and 20 2/3 innings. Over the past three seasons overall with the Phillies, he posted a 5.86 ERA spanning 50 major-league appearances.

So far, his numbers have drastically improved with the Pirates organization. Entering Sunday, he had made three appearances with his new team, tossing 2 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out two of his six batters faced. Two of his three games pitched finished the game.

A change of scenery appears to be exactly what Davis needed. Given the Phillies designated him for assignment, it was nice they were able to acquire a prospect arm that has some upside. Cesar has never appeared above the Double-A level, and likely will just work out at Lehigh Valley before camp closes in the coming days.