After days of speculation, the Cleveland Indians finally pulled the trigger and shipped out starting pitcher Mike Clevinger on Monday prior to the trading deadline to the San Diego Padres in a nine player swap.
The Indians sent Clevinger, outfielder Greg Allen and a player to be named later to San Diego in exchange for pitcher Chad Quantrill, catcher Austin Hedges, outfielder Josh Naylor and three prospects: shortstop Greg Arias, second baseman Owen Miller, and pitcher Joey Cantillo.
For the Padres, it capped off a very active trade deadline that saw them make multiple trades addressing their biggest needs.
They acquired a relief pitcher when they dealt for Trevor Rosenthal from the Kansas City Royals, they needed to upgrade at catcher which they did grabbing Austin Nola from the Seattle Mariners and Jason Castro from the Los Angeles Angels, and grabbed their ace for their pitching rotation by acquiring Clevinger.
The Padres can now be considered a serious threat in the National League after these moves.
They’re adding Clevinger to their rotation which already had Zach Davies and Dinelson Lamet who are off to pretty good starts in 2020 and Chris Paddack who showed some promise as a rookie last year but struggling with a 3-3 record and a 4.43 ERA. Not to mention that they still have top prospect Mackenzie Gore waiting in the wings and will likely be in the majors come 2021. Clevinger immediately becomes their ace in the rotation and will lead them down the stretch as they chase their first postseason appearance since 2006.
As for the Indians, it became more apparent as we got closer to the deadline that Clevinger was going to be traded and while team president Chris Antonetti told reporters on Monday that the incident in Chicago didn’t effect whether or not they’d trade Clevinger, you’d have to think it was the final nail in the coffin for the pitcher’s tenure with the Tribe.
Clevinger enters arbitration this coming offseason and with at least two years of team control left, it was as good of a time to scour offers for the pitcher and see what his value was. Clearly getting three major league players that could contribute right away and three top 11 prospects from the Padres farm system was something the Indians felt was the best move for the organization.
Naylor, Hedges, and Quantrill will all join the big league club right away and each can make a impact.
Naylor will take the left fielder role that was something the Indians were clearly searching for as Domingo Santana and Jordan Luplow were not making any sort of impact in the first half of the season. The 23-year-old has been in a part time role with the Padres appearing in 112 games since his major league debut in May of 2019 posting a .253 average with nine home runs, 36 runs batted in, and a .720 OPS. The biggest number to look at with Naylor is his .280 average away from PETCO Park in San Diego which isn’t a hitter friendly ballpark.
Quantrill has experience as both a starting pitcher and a reliever so it’ll be interesting to see what the Indians do with him in 2020 as well as moving forward. This season in San Diego, Quantrill has ten appearances (one start) posting a 2-0 record with one save, a 2.60 ERA and strikes out 9.3 batters per nine innings. His fastball can reach between 93-95 mph according to scouting reports and also uses a change up and a slider. Odds are they’ll stick him in the bullpen down the stretch but give him the occasional spot start if needed.
Hedges is basically another Roberto Perez and will likely become the backup catcher replacing Sandy Leon. He’s been one of the best defensive catchers in baseball since making his major league debut in 2015 and last season was second among catchers in defensive runs saved behind Perez. The problem with Hedges much like Perez is that he isn’t a very good hitter. He’s a lifetime .199 hitter but he does have some power hitting double digit home runs in each of the last three previous seasons.
Out of the prospects Cleveland acquired in the deal, the one that stands out is Arias. MLB.com had Arias ranked the seventh overall prospect in the Padres farm system and the 94th overall prospect in baseball. Last year as a 19-year-old in High-A ball, Arias hit .302 with 17 home runs, 75 runs batted in, and a .809 OPS.
MLB.com’s report says Arias needs to improve his plate discipline and tends to get long with his swing but has the potential to be a 25 home run hitter if he can continue to develop his offensive game. Defensively the report says he is a “quality defender” and has all the tools to stay at shortstop. Arias will be the player to watch in the farm system with the impending exit of Francisco Lindor whether it’s this coming offseason or after the 2021 season when he’s scheduled to become a free agent. If Arias continues to stay on the track of his development and MLB.com says his projected arrival will be in 2022, then the Indians may have acquired the shortstop of the future.
The deal set up the Indians to continue to stay on track with their division lead down the stretch but also gives them more prospects to develop and hopefully not have to go into a full blown rebuild like some are led to believe will happen once the Indians trade or let Francisco Lindor walk into free agency.
Naylor, Quantrill, and Hedges can contribute to the ball club now and hopefully give them an added boost down the stretch in a tight race for the AL Central and then Arias is the potential prize prospect with Cantillo being another potential starting pitcher added to their already deep pipeline at the position and Miller could potentially be a contributor in the infield at some point or perhaps another asset to use in a trade down the line.