CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - It’s been three weeks since Mike Clevinger violated Covid protocol in Chicago, kept it a secret, and was banished to the minor league camp, and while the Indians did finally call him back up, it was to showcase him and set up a trade.
In other words, it seemed like the only way he could escape the doghouse here was to head someplace else.
Clevinger doesn’t see it that way.
“Looking from a business standpoint, I think this might have been inevitable,” Clevinger said during a zoom meeting following the 9-player deal that also sent outfielder Greg Allen home to San Diego. “The Indians are looking for a bat ... you got a lot more years of control of the guys younger than me in the rotation, so I think this was inevitable either way, whether or not Chicago happened.”
But ... what else could it be? It can’t be about the money. His prorated salary is under $2 million this season, and he won’t have the numbers to break the bank in arbitration.
Prospects? Maybe. The Indians have been phenomenal at developing pitching, and while this move doesn’t make them better right now, maybe Gabrial Arias is the shortstop of the future. Maybe Josh Naylor does start crushing it as an every-day left fielder.
But the Tribe just gave up the #2 man in their rotation, one of the top 25 pitchers in baseball, for a package that doesn’t include any stars.
You wonder if it’s about more than baseball.
Clevinger hopes it isn’t.
But in the end, he’s going from one contender to another, and says he couldn’t be happier.
“We all have some hiccups, and I don’t think one mistake in my life is going to define me or my career,” Clevinger says. “It doesn’t define what I’ve done for the past five years or what kind of teammate I’ve been.
“I was riding the same roller coaster as everyone else for the last 24 hours (referring to the trade rumors). I really couldn’t be more excited. This is exactly where I wanted to be, to be honest.”