The Yankees could swoop in and “save” the Indians from Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger.
The New York Yankees would love some long-term controllable pitchers, and there’s a team in Northeast Ohio that has two problem children they’d love to exchange for young bats.
Hold your nose a little, and there’s a win-win?
According to MLB insider Jon Morosi (as well as the eye test), the Indians are currently in the market to trade recently-demoted ne’er-do-wells Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac, two ace-level starters who ran afoul of the team’s veterans for, well, breaking coronavirus protocols and putting the Tribe and their families in danger.
It’s about as bleak an offense as you can have — lefty Oliver Perez even vowed to walk away from the game if the two were allowed back in Cleveland — and Clevinger and Plesac have become poster boys for negligence in a way that individual Marlins and Cardinals have not. After all, if someone indeed went to a casino, we don’t know who. We know Clevinger and Plesac went out in Chicago, and a change of scenery may now be required.
We hate to say it, but if a pitching-rich team is looking to dump stars for outfield offense, the Yankees should be involved. They have that in droves.
Ignoring MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects for a second, would the Indians be intrigued by an Estevan Florial/Miguel Andujar package for Plesac? Florial, still just 22, has been raking at the Yankees’ Alternate Site, and Andujar is very obviously an MLB bat, nearly swiping the 2018 Rookie of the Year Award away from Shohei Ohtani.
Behind those two are other interesting options, like 21-year-old Canaan Smith, who pummeled the ball in Charleston last year (.307/.405/.465, 11 HR, 74 RBI), or even young Jake Sanford and Ryder Green. These talks could even snowball, with Clint Frazier (gulp) being on the table in a Clevinger trade.
If you want to get certifiable, Aaron Judge and Francisco Lindor could both be added to a mega-package to distract from the pitchers’ inclusion. These two teams seem destined to meet up again someday at the bargaining table.
Of course, we also can’t forget that by demoting Clevinger and Plesac, the Indians might be tacking on an extra year of control, only increasing their potential trade value.
Plus, what, would you rather the Red Sox use their prospect capital to get their hands on either of these very recent members of Cleveland’s five-headed ace rotation? I think not. And it could happen.
Clevinger and Plesac present interesting cases — they’re toxic right now, but would’ve been at the top of any fan’s wishlist two weeks ago.
Sometimes, wheeling and dealing feels unsavory, but these two bright stars are unlikely to watch their careers evaporate because of this incident. And do you really want some other team to benefit in your place?