Mike Clevinger Trade Rumors: White Sox, Padres, Braves Interested in Indians SP

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2020

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Mike Clevinger gets another ball after giving up a home run in the first inning in a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

The Cleveland Indians may reportedly trade starting pitcher Mike Clevinger within the American League Central.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Indians are "actively" exploring trading Clevinger to the division rival Chicago White Sox.

The White Sox aren't alone in their pursuit of Clevinger, however. Nightengale wrote that the San Diego Padres are focusing on Clevinger.

Bob Nightengale @BNightengale

Several rival teams who were involved in the Mike Clevinger trade talks believe that he's headed to the #Padres, confirming report by @theaceofspaeder

Bob Nightengale @BNightengale

At least two teams involved in the Mike Clevinger sweepstakes have not been told they are out, but agree that the #Padres are the leaders in the clubhouse as everyone awaits Cleveland's final decision. It is clear that Clevinger is definitely gone.

Bob Nightengale @BNightengale

A mystery team has improved their offer, which is now better than the #Padres, for Cleveland starter Mike Clevinger.

Mark Feinsand of MLB.com added that a pair of executives believe the Atlanta Braves are making "an aggressive play" for the Cleveland starter. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported the Indians have asked the Braves for outfielder Drew Waters—Atlanta's second-ranked prospect and the No. 27 overall prospect in all of baseball—in trade talks.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported the Toronto Blue Jays are also in the mix for the Cleveland right-hander.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirmed the White Sox rumor, noting there are other teams outside of the White Sox who are in the mix for the right-hander. Rosenthal pointed out the Indians need a slugging outfielder but could look to move Clevinger for pitching and search elsewhere for hitting.

On paper, Cleveland and Chicago seem to match up given their respective needs.

Nightengale noted Clevinger would "bolster the White Sox's thin rotation, joining Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel and Dylan Cease," while suggesting outfielder Adam Engel could be included in the trade and help an Indians outfield that is last in the American League with a .185 batting average and six home runs.

Still, it would be fairly surprising to see such a trade inside the same division since Clevinger is under contract through 2022.

That means Cleveland would battle him for years inside the AL Central since the White Sox are a young and talented team who figure to be in the playoff picture during the upcoming seasons. The Indians were one game ahead of Chicago in the division race entering play Sunday.

He may not go inside the division, though, if the Padres are able to make a deal.

San Diego has not made the playoffs since 2006 but has an excellent opportunity to change that with a talented and young core. Clevinger would provide a veteran presence in the rotation as the team chases the postseason down the stretch.

As for Clevinger, he made national headlines earlier this season when he and teammate Zach Plesac were placed on the restricted list for violating health and safety protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

They have since been reinstated.

Clevinger was brilliant last season with a 2.71 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 169 strikeouts in 126 innings. He has made four starts this year with a 3.18 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.