Mike Clevinger Trade Rumors: Indians 'More Open' to Dealing Veteran SP

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2020

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Mike Clevinger delivers in the third inning in a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Saturday, July 25, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

After optioning pitchers Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac to the alternate site following a rules violation, the Cleveland Indians could consider a trade before the Aug. 31 deadline.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, "rival executives say the low-revenue Indians are more open to trading Clevinger."

The 29-year-old has two more years of arbitration ahead of him and will see his salary grow beyond the $4.1 million projected for 2020. Plesac is under team control through at least the 2025 season.

Rosenthal speculated the Indians could try trading Clevinger for a power-hitting outfielder.

Clevinger and Plesac had been key parts of the Indian rotation to start the season but reportedly caused a rift within the clubhouse after breaking COVID-19 protocols earlier this month by leaving the team hotel, per Jeff Passan of ESPN.

Players were upset the two broke the rules and that Clevinger was not truthful with teammates about his involvement.

Fellow pitcher Adam Plutko was blunt about the problems they created within the organizations.

"They lied to us. They sat here in front of you guys and publicly said things that they didn't follow through on," Plutko told reporters. "It's gonna be up to them. It really is. I'll let them sit here and tell you how they're gonna earn their trust back."

Team president Chris Antonetti noted the squad's chemistry will be an important consideration regarding the players' futures:

Zack Meisel @ZackMeisel

Chris Antonetti, on the next step of this saga: (And here's a story on the possibilities, from trades to service time manipulation to reconciliation: https://t.co/8WfutKwumd) https://t.co/qnpXqtwOVA

It could cause a trade involving Clevinger despite his success on the field. The right-hander has a 3.24 ERA in three starts this season and is coming off an impressive 2019 where he totaled 169 strikeouts in just 126 innings with a 2.71 ERA.

Cleveland does have quality depth in the rotation, led by Shane Bieber and Aaron Civale, while Triston McKenzie impressed in his MLB debut Saturday. With a 17-11 record, the Indians can afford to deal away one of their top options on the mound.