The Cleveland Guardians head into the Aug. 2 trade deadline as somewhat of a mystery.
Terry Francona’s team is currently the youngest squad in baseball, and while sometimes youthfulness can be a receipt for disaster, this team is hanging around contention in a very forgiving AL Central.
And while many ask if the Guardians will be buyers or sellers, they’ll be buyers, only because there’s that not all that much to sell.
As reported earlier this month, the club will look to move Franmil Reyes, but a new nuggets was dropped by Jeff Passan on an ESPN broadcast, in which the reporter said he expects Zach Plesac to be wearing a different uniform next week.
I’ve only heard of Passan’s remarks, so it’s unclear if he was speculating or reporting this as Plesac being on the block.
Cleveland Guardians could command a nice return for Plesac
Let’s say Plesac is on the block. Plesac doesn’t carry big-time credentials, such as Cy Young trophies or All-Star nods, but what he’s been, is a slightly above average starter who is playing on his rookie contract. He can’t be a free agent until after the 2026 season. He’s making, by MLB standards, paltry $2 million in 2022.
Plesac put himself on the radar during the truncated 2020 campaign, when he went 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA. He was 10-6 with a 4.67 ERA. This season, he’s 2-7 with a 4.08 ERA. The win-loss record looks lopsided, but the case can be made the Guardians’ offense and bullpen has waisted some nice Plesac starts.
Bottom line: As a slightly better than average starter with a career 5.2 WAR, on a team friendly contract, the Guardians could probably get something nice in return if they dealt him.
Replacing Plesac is the big question. The argument could be made that Chris Antonetti and Mike Chernoff needed to add pitching depth even before this idea of trading Plesac and for some, Shane Bieber, started looming.
The next wave of pitchers that can help the Guardians just isn’t ready yet. Konnor Pilkington and Peyton Battenfield would be the logical candidates, with the former already having made some spot starts fo the Guardians this season.
That said, you know what you’re getting out of Plesac when he takes the bump. That’s the not the case with Pilkington and Battenfield. Trading Plesac would probably make the rotation worse, unless of course a pitcher comes back in the deal.