It has been a hectic last week for the Cleveland Indians organization following the aftermath of starting pitchers Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac breaking the coronavirus protocols in Chicago during the White Sox weekend.
Since the initial report of Plesac violating the protocol, Clevinger was exposed about also being out with Plesac at a bar on August 8th, the two being placed on the restricted list and then being sent to the training site in Eastlake this past Friday.
On Monday morning, ESPN released a new story revolving around the team meeting that took place in Detroit prior to the Tigers series in which teammates were able to air out their grievances towards Clevinger and Plesac, and relief pitcher Oliver Perez threatened to even opt out of the 2020 season if the two were reinstated to the major league roster.
Now, Clevinger and Plesac are essentially in the minor leagues until at least August 24 and now leads to the next following question: Should the Indians trade one or both of them prior to the August 31 trade deadline?
It’s clear that the clubhouse is not happy with either of the two for breaking protocol during a troublesome time in society with the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing with their manager Terry Francona dealing with health problems that have led to multiple operations in this calendar year alone and fellow starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco coming off beating leukemia one year ago and being more prone to contracting the virus.
Both Clevinger and Plesac were off the solid starts to the season and with each having multiple years of control, they could be very attractive to teams in need of starting pitching.
Clevinger is under control through 2023 and Plesac through 2026 but service time could come into play this season for each because of their current punishments which could lead to another year of team control being added.
This trade deadline isn’t like the others because of the shortened season and the fact that it’s unclear how teams are handling trade talks because of the inability to scout prospects or other players on major league rosters because of the pandemic. Most baseball experts expect a quiet trade deadline.
If the Indians are dissatisfied with Clevinger and Plesac, it could be possible that they keep them away from the major league roster for a few weeks to see if this will blow over and their teammates will accept them back.
It’s also possible that the front office could be taking calls to teams that need starting pitching such as the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, and Arizona Diamondbacks who are all contending for a playoff spot currently. Each have some prospects that could fit what the Indians need to continue re-tooling and perhaps expanding their current window.
The Indians will likely wait until this coming offseason to look to trade either pitcher with Clevinger being the most likely as he is heading towards his first season of arbitration, heading towards his 30s, and that the Indians could still get solid value for him in a potential trade.
Plesac is still only 25 years old and maybe Clevinger’s attitude and personality could be something he needs to get away from before the Indians decide to move on from him as well.
For those that think the Indians can’t deal starting pitching away, think about the fact that they’ve dealt both Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber over the last 13 months and still have one of the best rotations in baseball. The Indians have great depth at starting pitching with Shane Bieber, Aaron Civale, Carlos Carrasco and not to mention guys like Adam Plutko, Jefry Rodriguez, Logan Allen that can start and then guys like Triston McKenzie, and Daniel Espino waiting in the wings for the future.