MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Mike Clevinger, Kevin Gausman and More

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 29, 2020

San Francisco Giants' Kevin Gausman pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

If the Cleveland Indians are going to trade starting pitcher Mike Clevinger before Monday's deadline, it will take a blockbuster deal to make it happen.

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, while Clevinger is being discussed in trade talks, Cleveland's asking price has been quoted as "ridiculous." There's good reason for that, even if the Indians have incentive to part with a pitcher at the top of their rotation.

Clevinger is still just 29 and is under club control until 2023, when he hits free agency for the first time. Until then, the pitcher with a career 3.20 ERA and 1.196 WHIP is arbitration eligible.

He's also extremely fresh this season, but not for good reasons. The pitcher and teammate Zach Plesac were optioned to the minors after both broke quarantine protocols for a night out in Chicago during a team trip in early August.

Clevinger was recalled for his first start in 20 days against the Minnesota Twins earlier this week. It was the first time he had entered the clubhouse since his teammates voted to banish him to the club's alternate site. He responded with a quality start, going six innings with eight hits, two earned runs, one walk and six strikeouts.

Even if Clevinger's time is coming to an end in Cleveland, not all pitchers on the trade block are done with their current clubs.

San Francisco Giants starter Kevin Gausman told reporters Thursday his preference is to stay put, though if the Giants do decide to move him, he would be open to returning as a free agent this winter.

Gausman has been sturdy enough this year, tossing 35.2 innings with a 4.54 ERA, 1.262 WHIP and 12.1 K/9 ratio. He's given up more than three runs just once this season and recently struck out 11 in a mid-August matchup against a contending Oakland squad.

That's the type of rotation depth a club like the Toronto Blue Jays could desperately use. The club has placed Matt Shoemaker, Nate Pearson and Trent Thornton on the injured list and has been forced to piece together a rotation on the fly.

Toronto began addressing that need with the acquisition of Taijuan Walker on Thursday, but that may have just been a sign of deals to come.

"I would expect us to be extremely active," general manager Ross Atkins told reporters after announcing the Walker trade.

As much as Gausman would fit in with the Blue Jays, there may be cheaper options available. MLB.com's Jon Morosi noted Toronto has eyed Pittsburgh Pirates right-handers Trevor Williams and Chad Kuhl, adding that the strong relationship between the two front offices should see trade talks begin in earnest.

Kuhl, 27, has started four games this season with a 2.52 ERA and 1.080 WHIP in 25 innings. Williams, 28, has rather electric stuff but hasn't been able to consistently throw it this season. In six starts, he's compiled a 5.34 ERA, 1.451 WHIP with 26 strikeouts on 10 walks.