MLB Trade Deadline Rumors: Dodgers Discuss Mike Clevinger Deal With Indians
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Mike Clevinger
David Dermer/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers have the best record in baseball and are the clear World Series favorites, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still looking to improve as the MLB trade deadline arrives Monday afternoon.

The Dodgers have plenty and depth and prospect capital if they want to pull off a big deal. They made a splash during the offseason by acquiring Mookie Betts and David Price from the Boston Red Sox, though do have a slight need for a starting pitcher with the latter opting out of the 2020 season.

Perhaps the best name that could be available at the deadline is Cleveland Indians right-hander Mike Clevinger. According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Dodgers are among the teams that have shown interest:

If the postseason were to begin today, the L.A. rotation would likely be Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Dustin May and Julio Urias. Given the youth and inexperience of the latter two, it may make sense to add a starter of Clevinger’s caliber.

If the Dodgers want to do so, it will not come at a cheap price. Clevinger has arguably been a top-15 starting pitcher in baseball the last few seasons and other teams interested, such as the Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees and San Diego Padres, all have bigger needs for starting pitching.

In four starts this season, Clevinger is 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA, 5.61 FIP and 1.37 WHIP with 21 strikeouts and 11 walks in 22.2 innings. He hasn’t really been able to get in a flow this season due to off the field issues as he wound up being optioned for a couple of weeks after going out with fellow Indians pitcher Zach Plesac.

Given the nature of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, both Clevinger and Plesac broke the league’s protocols while letting down their teammates in the process. Additionally, Clevinger originally lied about being with Plesac, which could make teams question his character.

Clevinger is under control for two more seasons after 2020, which could improve the return the Indians receive in a potential trade, and given the fact that they’re in the postseason race, they could be searching for big-league talent in return. If that is the case then the Dodgers could match up well as not only do they have one of the best farm systems, but also an excess of Major League talent.

Dodgers trade must move needle

While the Dodgers are reportedly showing interest in Clevinger, manager Dave Roberts stated before Sunday’s game that a trade must be significant in order for the team to move forward.

“First and foremost, it’s got to be something for our club that’s going to move the needle. We’ve got talent all around the roster, so something that potentially moves the needle,” he said. “The way we work, one-month or two-month rental, just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

“If something were to happen, most likely it’s someone we would have control of. But again, those are just kind of parameters.”

Considering Clevinger is in the prime of his career and still has a couple of years left of club control, he certainly would fall into that category.

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