The Los Angeles Dodgers have officially traded for 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts and now Dodger fans are looking at a new potential move.
The Los Angeles Dodgers made one of the best series of trades in recent memory this past week as the team has acquired Mookie Betts, David Price, Brusdar Graterol, a prospect in Luke Raley and the 87th pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.
Betts is one of the five best players in the league and is only a year removed from his AL MVP, Price is coming on a discount and is a solid third pitcher and Graterol is a flame-throwing top-100 prospect that could be the future of the bullpen for the Dodgers.
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Now, Dodger fans have already transitioned into looking at the next potential move that the team could make: adding Cleveland Indians starting pitcher, Mike Clevinger. In a perfect world, adding Clevinger would be great and would only make the Dodgers stronger. The problem is that this is not even close to reality.
Tim Rogers of Dodgers Nation writes that the time to trade for Clevinger is now and outlines some of the reasons why the Dodgers should make the move. First, is to balance the starting rotation, which is left-handed heavy. The other is due to Clevinger’s talent, obviously.
The trade probably would cost a package close to what he proposed: Julio Urias (or another top pitching prospect, such as Josiah Gray), Joc Pederson, the Twins’ pick and other wild card prospects. It looks great on paper, up until it doesn’t for the Indians.
The Cleveland Indians have no point in trading Clevinger at this point in time. The only reason why the Indians are in trade rumors for other players, such as Francisco Lindor, is because of the soon-to-be cost of Lindor and the fact that Cleveland is a small market.
That is not a problem with Clevinger. Clevinger is making just $4.1 million this season and even if the Dodgers paid half of Joc Pederson’s salary, the Indians would be saving less than a million dollars.
Clevinger also has two more years of arbitration past this season. Could things change if the Indians are bombing in July? Absolutely. But for a team that is coming off of a 93-win season, it seems a bit counterintuitive to trade the best pitcher that is cost controlled for another three seasons.
Why would the Indians trade three years of someone who they know is going to be elite next year for four years of someone they are unfamiliar with, such as Julio Urias? Or six years of a prospect that might not even pan out, such as Josiah Gray?
The only way the Indians would budge in a Clevinger deal is if the package included Gavin Lux or Dustin May and that would be foolish for the Dodgers to do. There is no point in trading potential foundational pieces for an improvement in an area that does not really need improvement.
Would the Los Angeles Dodgers be better with Mike Clevinger? Absolutely. However, a starting rotation of Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, David Price, Alex Wood and Julio Urias would still be one of the best in the league.
That is without accounting for Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, Ross Stripling or Jimmy Nelson. The Dodgers could literally field their starting five and compose 4/5 of a starting five that would not be one of the 10-worst in the league.
Could it become a need in the future? Sure, I am not ruling Clevinger out entirely. But right now, if anything, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a surplus of starting pitching and the Cleveland Indians have no reason to feed into it.