Zach Plesac’s downfall with the Cleveland Guardians was long-expected.
Zach Plesac will not be fondly remembered by the Cleveland Guardians’ most faithful. Like Trevor Bauer, Roberto Alomar, and Omar Vizquel before him, Plesac will go down as a once-beloved, now-despised baseball player who once played in Cleveland. The Guardians designated Plesac for assignment over the weekend, ending the pitcher’s time with the Guardians.
It’s rather fitting that yet another Bauer associate is done in Cleveland, as with Mike Clevinger, Plesac was a big fan of Bauer.
Plesac, unlike Bauer and Clevinger however, has never been investigated for abusing another person, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have his own fair share of issues. His flippant attitude was on full display in 2020. During the height of the pandemic, Plesac, along with Clevinger, defied MLB and Guardians’ rules about late-night get-togethers during the pandemic-shortened season.
Their actions put guys like then-Guardians pitcher Carlos Carrasco at risk, who was months removed from being treated for cancer. Not to mention Terry Francona, who was already in his 60s at the time and was dealing with heart issues. The pair of pitchers acted recklessly and without regret, and were caught.
Their teammates couldn’t stand them and they were sent home to avoid the entire time from lashing out at them. Clevinger would then be traded due to his role in the scandal, and Plesac would be left with the practice squad for a time.
2023 would come hard for Adam Plesac
While he stayed mostly out of the spotlight after 2020, and instead just pitched, Plesac would hit a snag in 2023. Already declining after 2020, possibly due to a lack of sticky substances that were sense banned from the MLB, Plesac would see his ERA balloon up to the 4.00s. Not terrible for a fourth or fifth starter, but dangerously close to being out of the rotation.
His strikeouts fell in 2021, and 2022, before tanking in 2023. After posting an SO9 of 9.3 in ’20, it dropped to 6.3 in ’21, stayed down in ’22 at 6.8, and dropped even further in ’23 where it plunged to 5.9.
His ERA went from 2.28 in 2020 to 7.59 in 2023, with two back-to-back seasons of 4.00 in between. He was sent down to Triple-A, where in five games for the Columbus Clippers, his strikeout rate would jump back to 9.0, but his EAR would remain the same at 7.56.
His balls just didn’t break like they used to.
So what does this mean for Plesac? Well, usually when a player is designated for assignment, it’s to send them to Triple-A outright, with the hope that someone won’t claim them off waivers. The problem is, Plesac was already in Triple-A, so why did he get DFA’ed? Well, Plesac is on the 40-man roster, and only players on the 40-man roster can be called up to the Majors.
With the return of Triston McKenzie from the injury list, that means the Guardians had 41 players on the 40-man roster. And as it’s specifically called the “40-man” roster, someone had to go. And with Plesac’s 7.00+ ERA, he became a very easy candidate.
Now here are the three options that exist. Plesac could be claimed by a team that needs pitching and are higher up on the waiver-claim list. He could be traded as well, if the team that wants him is lower down on the waiver-list, and doesn’t think he’ll make it to them via the waiver wire, that team could trade with the Guardians. That’s one scenario, with two options.
The next two scenarios exist as possibilities if Plesac clears waivers. The second scenario is that Plesac rejects the demotion and opts out of his contract, but as he’d leave $2.95 million on the table, that doesn’t seem likely.
The third and last scenario sees Plesac remain in Triple-A Columbus for the rest of the season, where he’ll be eligible to return to the Majors at some point if the team opts to remove someone else from the 40-man roster to bring Plesac back up.