The New York Mets will need some starting pitchers in 2021. Cleveland Indians starters Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac could be available at even just a slight bargain.
If you didn’t know the names Mike Clevinger and Zac Plesac until recently, don’t worry. They have nothing to do with the New York Mets. At least not yet.
The pair both play for the Cleveland Indians and made headlines for violating protocols put in place regarding social distancing. It’s not what you want a potential trade target to become known for. But hey, it’s 2020. Nothing has gone as planned.
There’s nothing to suggest either Clevinger or Plesac are on the trade block. However, given the team’s zero-tolerance treatment of the pair and recent history of trading away big-name players, it’s always possible we see one of the pair dealt this winter.
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Realistically, it’s Clevinger who is more likely to get traded. Plesac is still making pennies in Major League Baseball dollars. Meanwhile, Clevinger has already entered his arbitration years where the dollars and cents will progressively grow more.
The Indians are one of those teams always looking to make a trade to lower their payroll. They traded star pitcher Corey Kluber over this past winter. Shortstop Francisco Lindor looks to be next.
As nice as it would be to have Lindor on the Mets, it’s not their priority. Heading into this winter, the Mets are going to need some fresh starting pitching with talent. In comes the idea of trading for Clevinger.
Clevinger doesn’t have an extensive resume but it is a good one nonetheless. Through 87 starts and a baker’s dozen relief appearances, he’s 42-22 with a 3.20 ERA.
These numbers look especially awesome given the woes the Mets have faced with their starters in 2020. It’s not so much the performance as much as it is the lack of warm bodies they have available that has me leaning toward a big offseason trade.
While we cannot assume the asking price for Clevinger will drop significantly, it could very well go down enough where it makes sense to deal for him. The Mets have more than enough position players right now. And if past trade rumors are any indication, we can get a general idea of what the Indians may want.
The two names that come to mind are Brandon Nimmo and Amed Rosario. The latter would make a lot of sense if they were to move on from Lindor. Rosario is young, controllable, and has two other youngsters creeping up behind him to take over at shortstop. We know them as Andres Gimenez and Ronny Mauricio.
Nimmo could also be someone Cleveland desires. Despite several years of having some known outfield prospects, no one has really captured a permanent job. Pair him with another quality player and the Mets may be able to swing a deal for Clevinger.
In a straight one-for-one deal, the Indians might bite on a Clevinger for Rosario swap. I’m reacting to the current situation with both teams by even suggesting this is something we might see. Logically, it might require another player or two.
Clevinger helps solve the Mets’ lack of starting pitcher options for the 2021 season and Rosario can immediately step in for the Indians and play shortstop at a lower cost than Lindor. Both teams can replace the one they send away immediately with a viable option. The Indians have plenty of starting pitching and the Mets have Gimenez ready to play.
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Does a trade like this get done? Probably not. Clevinger and Plesac are being punished right now. Trading them away on even a slight bargain, while not out of the question, does more to punish the team.