Per several reports, the Padres are the frontrunners to land Mike Clevinger from the Indians.
While the Padres were, by all accounts, just about done addressing their deficiencies before Monday’s trade deadline, the rumors started flying that the team was linked to a starting pitcher. And not just any starting pitcher. Mike Clevinger.
The Indians ace was originally drafted by the Angels in the fourth round of the 2011 MLB Draft but came over to Cleveland in August 2014. Since making his major league debut, Clevinger has been one of the best starting pitchers in the game, posting a career 3.20 and a 10.0 K/9. The 2019 campaign was a career-best for the 29-year-old, logging a 2.71 ERA in 21 starts.
In the shortened season, Clevinger has a 3.18 ERA in four starts and recently caused a rift with his teammates after reportedly breaking COVID-19 protocols during a series in Chicago.
As the rumors began picking up steam, Bob Nightengale of The USA Today reported that the Padres were the presumed frontrunners. Since then, he’s kind of been all over the place in terms of his reporting, which makes me wonder how legitimate the initial reports were.
Still, it was evident before the Clevinger rumors that the Padres needed another starter. After acquiring Trevor Rosenthal, Mitch Moreland, Jason Castro, and Austin Nola, a reliable body to bolster the rotation was all that was left for the Padres to become true World Series contenders.
We’ll see what materializes over the next several hours and entering Monday. Still, several other teams, including the Braves and White Sox, are being linked to Clevinger as well right now. And make no mistake about it. The Indians ace is going to be costly.
If the Padres can manage to land him, CJ Abrams is likely to be included in the deal, as the future of Francisco Lindor remains murky at best. The Indians have taken a step back since their World Series appearance in 2016, trading away Corey Kluber this past offseason.
But there are still several reports out there that have the Padres being the frontrunners. I won’t get too excited until something is finalized.
And if there’s one team that’s been too quiet in all of this, it has been the Dodgers. They were linked to several big names last week, but nothing has come to fruition for LA. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make a late push to insert themselves into the conversation.
They have the prospects and the financial resources to acquire and re-sign Clevinger, who will become a free agent after the 2022 season.