Mike Clevinger is reportedly available in trade talks ahead of the August 31 deadline. It's just going to cost teams a lot if they want to acquire him.
The 29-year-old righty won't be an unrestricted free agent until 2023 and is arbitration eligible over the next two seasons. With a 3.18 ERA, 21 strikeouts and 11 walks in 22.2 innings this season, he could certainly provide an immediate boost for a contender. With the Indians still in a battle for first place in the American League Central, it's understandable the team doesn't want to part with him at a discount.
The idea of the Indians moving Clevinger only gained momentum over the past few weeks.
During an early August series in Chicago, Clevinger and fellow starter Zach Plesac broke COVID-19 protocol and joined some of Plesac's friends for a night out. While Plesac's actions were discovered by the team immediately—prompting the club to send him home—Clevinger didn't admit he was out with his teammate until after he'd flown back with the Indians to Cleveland.
A team meeting was held shortly after with the club opting to effectively send to two pitchers back to the minors by optioning them to their alternate site.
Clevinger, who has more than three years of service time in the big leagues, was recalled for a start against the Minnesota Twins on Aug. 26. His first MLB appearance in 20 days saw him complete a quality start with eight hits, two earned runs, six strikeouts and one walk over six innings.
One of the top arms in the Indians' rotation, the team is better on paper with Clevinger on the roster. However that might not transfer over to the clubhouse after abusing his teammates' trust.
Cleveland has the luxury of looking to contend in 2020 while presiding over one of the top farm systems in baseball. Dangling Clevinger on the trade market makes sense considering the club could use both prospects for the future and supplemental pieces for right now.
Whether or not a team is willing to part with either of those assets remains to be seen.