Here’s the latest from Cleveland…
- The Indians had “mild” interest in Matt Kemp before the Reds released the veteran outfielder earlier in May, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal writes (subscription required). In fact, Rosenthal notes that Cleveland was the only team who expressed any interest at all in Kemp’s services. Given the Tribe’s needs in both the outfield and in the run-scoring department whatsoever, it isn’t surprising that the club is checking in on any potential solutions. Kemp didn’t hit much in his brief time with Cincinnati, however, and was on the injured list recovering from a broken rib at the time of his release. It stands to reason that the Indians (or other teams) could explore signing Kemp once he’s healthy, since the 34-year-old is just a season removed from a 122 wRC+ and an All-Star appearance for the Dodgers in 2018.
- Also from Rosenthal’s piece, he reports “the Indians made a run at left-hander Gio Gonzalez” during Gonzalez’s brief sojourn in free agency in April. After Gonzalez opted out of his minor league deal with the Yankees, the Mets and Brewers were the only known suitors for the southpaw before he agreed to a contract with Milwaukee. Since Gonzalez hit the market less than two weeks after Mike Clevinger was placed on the IL, it makes sense that the Tribe would be checking around for potential rotation help — not to mention how that pitching need became even more pronounced in the wake of Corey Kluber’s forearm fracture. Gonzalez has pitched well over three starts for the Brewers, and he could end up being a real “what-if” for not only Cleveland, but every other team that gave Gonzalez so little attention on the open market both in April and over the offseason.
- In the latest update on Clevinger, he threw off a mound for the first time since hitting the IL with a teres major muscle strain on April 9, tossing a 20-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday. “It was just 20 fastballs, but everything feels healthy,” Clevinger told reporters, including Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The righty will play catch on Wednesday and then toss another bullpen on Thursday, before he and the team decide on the next steps in his rehab process. Clevinger is slightly ahead of his original six-to-eight week projection to begin throwing, though due to his 60-day IL placement, it will still be some time before he can return to the Tribe’s rotation. Clevinger was off to a fantastic start before his injury, tossing 12 shutout innings over his first two outings of the season.