Before the Diamondbacks traded Starling Marte to the Marlins yesterday, “the Indians made a run at” acquiring the outfielder, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports (subscription required). Marte would’ve been a enormous boost to Cleveland’s long-struggling outfield, and it is interesting to wonder what it would have cost the Tribe to land Marte. Looking at what the D’Backs accepted from Miami, the Indians would have had to surrender a pitcher with some proven MLB-level ability (like Caleb Smith), another big-league ready young arm (like Humberto Mejia), and a lottery ticket of a long-term pitching prospect like Julio Frias.
Beyond the prospect cost, it’s fair to assume that Marte’s financial cost was also a factor for Cleveland — Marte has $1.71MM remaining this year, and a $12.5MM club option for the 2021 season. Giving up a big prospect package and then declining Marte’s option wouldn’t have made much sense, and it isn’t yet clear what kind of payroll capacity the Tribe will have going into next season.
Some more Tribe notes…
- Also from Rosenthal, he shares some details on the talks between Indians and White Sox about a possible Mike Clevinger trade. The idea of a Clevinger trade to an AL Central rival seemed surprising at the time, and one Chicago official feels “the Indians used the Sox as a stalking horse, never intending to trade him within the division.” The White Sox also denied that right-hander Michael Kopech was offered to Tribe as part of the Clevinger negotiations.
- Clevinger wound up being traded to the Padres as part of a major deadline-day swap that saw the Indians acquire six players. It was a trade born from a lot of “familiarity” between the two organizations, as president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti told MLB.com’s Mandy Bell and other reporters. “We’ve spent a lot of time on their system….We have asked about all of these players in the past. Every one of them,” Antonetti said. “I would comfortably say, at this point, we’ve had hundreds of iterations of deals with the Padres.” Cleveland and San Diego have combined for five trades since July 2018.
- In other Clevinger news, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the right-hander turned down an extension offer from the Indians in the spring of 2019. Terms and contract length weren’t revealed, though the deal would have almost assuredly gone beyond the four years of control the Tribe already held over Clevinger. The righty was coming off an impressive 2018 season and heading into his age-28 campaign, so purely speculatively, I wonder if the Tribe’s offer was at least somewhat similar to the five-year, $38.5MM extension (with two club option years) reached with Corey Kluber prior to the 2015 season. Kluber had a similar amount of service time and was coming off a better platform of a Cy Young Award-winning season, though he was also a year older than Clevinger would have been at the time of his hypothetical early-2019 extension.