MLB Rumors: Indians Player Threatened to Opt Out If Clevinger, Plesac Remained

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2020

Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Oliver Perez throws during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Cleveland Indians reliever Oliver Perez reportedly threatened to opt out of the remainder of the 2020 season if Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac were brought back to the MLB club.

Jeff Passan of ESPN reported several Cleveland players were angered by Clevinger and Plesac breaking COVID-19 protocol to sneak out of the team hotel in Chicago, leading to both starting pitchers being optioned to the club's alternate site.

Shortstop Francisco Lindor didn't go so far as to threaten to walk but was "outspoken" in a team meeting that served as a rebuke of the two pitchers.

"They hurt us bad," pitcher Adam Plutko said. "They lied to us. They sat here, in front of you guys, and said things publicly that they didn't follow through on. It's gonna be up to them. It really is."

Teammates were also reportedly angered by Plesac's Instagram video in which he largely defended his actions, saying:

"I just did a little bit of research, and I found out that [CDC guidance is] changing day to day and 10 people or less is considered a safe gathering, especially if you're six feet apart. And that entire night, dinner and hanging out at my buddy's place after, we were not with more than eight people the entire night. So the media's portraying me and my best friend and teammate to be malicious with our actions when we were really—not justifying what we did because we left the hotel, and according to the new rules, we weren't supposed to leave.

"But according to the CDC and these guidelines with [the coronavirus], we were practicing safe practices in a small group with people who we know have been tested and came back to our curfew late, which was 10 p.m. and have clearly been exposed as being bad teammates, bad people and dragged across the mud. So it's hard to sit here and watch how things shuffle out and people not knowing the truth."

Clevinger initially lied about breaking curfew before fessing up and issuing a statement that mostly read as a non-apology.

The situation is threatening one of baseball's best teams of this abbreviated season and leaving Cleveland without two of its best pitchers—perhaps for an extended period.