The Yankees are in need of pitching and could make a splash for star power, but this deal won’t work.
Once the Cleveland Indians optioned both Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac to their alternate training site following the incident in Chicago where the two broke MLB safety protocols pertaining to COVID-19, many have been speculating about potential trades. Can these pitchers ever regain the Indians’ trust back?
The answer is probably no, considering the rest of the team’s players led the campaign to oust these guys from the active roster. That makes it more likely than ever the two (or at least one) are traded before the Aug. 31 deadline.
However, we can pump the brakes on an Indians-Yankees blockbuster traded involving Clevinger and Lindor. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons.
One is that the Indians are still very much in contention and have no reason to get rid of Lindor at the moment when they have a legitimate chance to win the World Series in a shortened season (it’d be their first since 1948!). They’re better off saving such a deal for the offseason when they have a clearer picture of how to assess the roster.
Plus, though there’s been speculation about Lindor to the Yankees, the move is a complicated one. What happens to the infield? We’re giving up on Gleyber Torres as the future shortstop? Where do we move DJ LeMahieu? Gio Urshela? Luke Voit? How does Brian Cashman pay Aaron Judge?
Though acquiring the superstar sounds great in theory, there are countless other factors that involve fixing something that’s very much not broken in New York (aside from, well, maybe Torres’ defense).
As for Clevinger, if the Indians’ asking price is that high, then the Yankees should bow out before even getting further into the talks. Not only has Clevinger been an off-the-field distraction when it comes to being outspoken against the Houston Astros (among other topics) and then breaking league protocols, do we think he’ll willingly, without a problem, cut his hair and shave his facial hair to join the Yanks?
The Yankees don’t need another walking headline after the injuries they’ve dealt with the last couple of seasons combined with the troubling domestic violence incidents surrounding Aroldis Chapman and Domingo German.
And with all due respect to Clevinger, though he owns an impressive 3.20 ERA in 100 games (87 starts) since debuting in 2016, he’s only made 30 or more starts once, has largely gotten knocked around in the playoffs aside from one start against the Astros in 2018, and is only under club control for two more seasons after 2020. Yes, two more years is certainly good, but giving up a guy like Frazier, who is locked in through 2024, plus a valuable utility guy in Estrada AND two more pitchers is just excessive. It’s obvious that acquiring Clevinger won’t be cheap — and nobody’s asking for that — but paying a prohibitive price is out of the question when there are other options with less baggage out there.
How much more will the Yanks have to surrender with Lindor in the mix? At that point, it’s sacrificing much more than the foreseeable future. Would the Yankees and their fans be able to cope with that? Trading the farm system for multiple World Series is never a bad move, but this far from guarantees the Yankees anything — AND they’ll have to pay a ton to keep Lindor around.
Don’t get your hopes up for this one leading up to next week’s deadline.