Cleveland Indians rumors: Demotion setting up Mike Clevinger trade?

Cleveland Indians Mike Clevinger
Cleveland Indians Mike Clevinger /

Might the Cleveland Indians be setting up a trade of Mike Clevinger?

The Cleveland Indians spoke and the players were loud enough that management heard loud and clear.

It’s why Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac were optioned to Lake County and made to drive home by themselves to northeast Ohio from Detroit just ahead of the Tribe’s weekend series against the Tigers last Friday.

Veteran Oliver Perez went so far as to say he would opt out, if Clevinger and Plesac were aloud to stay with the team, according to a bombshell report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. While there were some players who wanted the duo to stay with the team, even Francisco Lindor was vocal in speaking up during the team meeting in which players got their chance to air grievances.

In the story, Passan also touches on how Plesac’s and Clevinger’s demotions will affect their service time. If each player stays in Lake County long enough, they won’t accrue a season and their free agency will be delayed.

Passan explained how service time is calculated in this shortened season.

"“Service time in 2020 operates on the following formula: 186*X/67. In a typical season, there are 186 days. This season, there are 67. “X” is the number of days spent on an active roster. If Clevinger remains on option for 20 days, the maximum number of rostered days he can get is 47 — which, under the formula, would equal 130 days of service. That would leave him with 3 years, 171 days — one day short of reaching four years of service.”"

Long story short: Keeping Clevinger in Lake County will delay his free agency by a year.

If the Tribe keeps Clevinger, great. They’ve got an ace quality pitcher under control through the 2023 season, rather than the 2022 campaign…but, and it’s a big but, employing such a tactic might not be the best move to make when fostering building. Having disgruntled players on the roster, definitely isn’t, as you’d say, optimal. This makes Clevinger could be on trade block.

And the notion of trading a starter prior to the Aug. 31 deadline certainly exists, according to Passan. It also makes sense. Having an ace who can’t be a free agent until after the 2023 season would certainly command a nice prospect haul in return.

Perhaps the Tribe would deal Plesac, but I think it’s more likely Clevinger were to be dealt. There’s something about withholding the information that he was out that makes the whole situation even worse.

Speaking of Plesac, if he can’t accrue enough service time, the 25-year-old won’t even become arbitration eligible until after 2022.

Knowing the Indians, financials will always play a decision in their decision making and Clevinger’s arbitration number (he’s making $4.1 million this season) will only continue to go up. That’s why, if a trade is consummated, it won’t be surprising to see his name as one the one leaving town.

Next. 4 OF bats Tribe must must target via trade. dark

Ultimately, the fans lose, as one-through-five, the Tribe had the best rotation baseball for three weeks. Now, who knows if we’ll see 2/5 of the staff back up with the big league club at all in 2020.