The Indians find themselves atop the American League Central standings entering Sunday afternoon, with a day left for the team to decide if it will be active prior to Monday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline. The big question remains: Will the Tribe make a blockbuster deal?
Cleveland’s never-ending starting-pitching depth provides some flexibility to trade someone like Mike Clevinger in order to get an impact bat (among other pieces) in return. However, the Indians have proven that they will not make any trade for a penny less than their asking price. And by judging last year’s return for Trevor Bauer (Franmil Reyes, Yasiel Puig, Logan Allen, Scott Moss and Victor Nova), it’s safe to say Clevinger would require a similar package.
If a deal were to happen, teams would need to be willing to part ways with affordable Major League-ready outfielders with proven bats, among other pieces, in order to get the Indians to budge on Clevinger. According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, the Braves, Padres, Yankees and Dodgers are among the teams that have been in contact with the Tribe regarding the 29-year-old right-hander.
When he was recalled from Lake County last Wednesday to make his first start in three weeks, Clevinger said he did not believe it was a showcase start before the Trade Deadline.
“I’m trying to win a ring,” Clevinger said. “And I’m trying to win a ring for the Tribe until they tell me I can’t wear their uniform. I went to the World Series with this team as a rookie. This is the team I wanted to do it with. That’s not something I’m thinking about.”
On Sunday afternoon, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand also reported that shortstop Francisco Lindor's name has popped up in some preliminary discussions between teams, which is to be expected. The Indians are open to having conversations about almost all of their players, but again, their price would be extremely high. The 26-year-old is set to hit free agency after the 2021 season, and it's more likely that clubs will wait until the offseason to have more engaging conversations about the shortstop.
The Indians’ struggling offense could certainly use a hot bat to throw into the lineup like Clint Frazier from the Yankees, but if the team doesn’t hear a perfect trade proposal, Clevinger will be making his start for the Tribe on Tuesday. Cleveland has still found its way to first place in the AL Central by leaning on its starting pitching, and the club is focused on holding that lead in what is expected to be a tight division race over the next four weeks.
“You got to focus on the game in front of you,” Indians temporary manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said. “You can't start thinking about things that aren't close to happening. You have to focus on these series in front of you, try to win the series and do the best you can and win as many as you can. You can't think too far ahead on the road. Many things can happen in this game.”