Cleveland Indians – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-08-12T00:03:05Z WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[Indians Place Mike Clevinger, Zach Plesac On Restricted List]]> 2020-08-11T20:00:06Z 2020-08-11T19:11:51Z The Indians announced today that right-handers Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger have been placed on the restricted list. Both pitchers violated the league’s health and safety protocols over the weekend when they went out after Saturday night’s game. In a pair of corresponding moves, Cleveland reinstated outfielder Tyler Naquin from the injured list and recalled lefty Logan Allen from the team’s alternate training site.

Today’s move subtracts both Plesac and Clevinger from the active roster, though they’ll continue to receive both service time and salary while absent, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. That differs from the restricted-list assignments that follow a PED suspension. In all likelihood, the decision was made in order to add a pair of fresh bodies to the roster while Plesac and Clevinger are tested daily for Covid-19 — rather than as a punitive measure. The organization can reinstate the pair whenever it sees fit, so long as both have tested negative at least twice (separated by a span of 24 hours).

It’s not yet clear to what extent (if any) the club will discipline the pair, although the team’s higher-ups can’t be pleased with them. That’s particularly true of Clevinger, who didn’t speak up even after Plesac was disciplined and reportedly took a flight with teammates after having been out. The Athletic’s Zack Meisel tweets that president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti declined to reveal whether Plesac and Clevinger would be subject to some form of discipline. For now, they’ll both be isolated away from the team for at least 72 hours while undergoing continued testing.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mike Clevinger Violates Coronavirus Protocols]]> 2020-08-11T01:58:23Z 2020-08-10T23:36:55Z Indians right-hander Mike Clevinger has violated their coronavirus protocols, the team announced (via Ryan Lewis of Clevinger was scheduled to start for the Indians against the Cubs on Tuesday, but they’ll go with fellow righty Adam Plutko instead.

Clevinger’s violations came on the road against the White Sox over the weekend, as did fellow starter Zach Plesac’s. It turns out that the two were out on the town in Chicago together, and then Clevinger took a flight with the Indians, Jeff Passan of ESPN tweets. The Indians ended up dismissing Plesac from the team on a temporary basis. Clevinger, for his part, must quarantine for 72 hours and test negative for the coronavirus before he’s eligible to rejoin the club.

The main hope is that neither of these players’ decisions will negatively affect others, including their teammates. On the field, the two have been rather effective parts of the Indians’ rotation. Clevinger has generally offered the Indians front-line results since 2017.

George Miller <![CDATA[Indians Send Zach Plesac Home After Violating Health Protocols]]> 2020-08-10T12:35:56Z 2020-08-10T12:15:39Z Aug. 10: Plesac issued the following statement late last night (link via Mandy Bell of

I would like to apologize to my teammates, the entire Cleveland organization and all of our fans for my actions Saturday evening. I realize I made a poor choice to leave the hotel, which broke protocols and could have endangered other people. I understand that in these times of uncertainty, I need to be more vigilant and responsible and I am determined to earn my teammates’ forgiveness and get back to work.

Aug. 9: The Indians have sent pitcher Zach Plesac home to Cleveland after discovering that Plesac violated MLB’s health and safety protocols by going out in Chicago on Saturday night, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Per Rosenthal, Plesac has been isolated from the team and will be required to quarantine for at least three days, with daily testing, before the Indians decide how to proceed.

The Indians’ action against Plesac is illustrative of MLB teams’ heightened diligence in preventing outbreaks of COVID-19 similar to those that have cost the Marlins and Cardinals considerable portions of their respective seasons. We’ve seen how quickly one case can turn into fifteen or more, as in the Marlins case, and teams would do well to operate quickly and carefully in their efforts to prevent such a spread.

As ESPN’s Jeff Passan adds, the Indians have garnered a reputation as being one of baseball’s most committed organizations in upholding proper coronavirus protocols, and their swift discipline of an emerging star demonstrates that commitment. It’s encouraging to see teams exhibit a willingness to sacrifice their immediate interests in favor of protecting the long-term health of the baseball season.

Plesac pitched on Saturday afternoon against the White Sox, tossing six innings of scoreless ball and striking out seven batters. The 25-year-old has enjoyed a brilliant start to his season, emerging as an increasingly reliable member of the Indians’ already-strong rotation.

Given the Indians’ schedule, Plesac was set to go next on Thursday in Detroit. Should Plesac consistently test negative in the coming days, it appears as though he could be cleared in time for that start, though of course the Indians may opt to take further preventative measures and hold Plesac out for a longer period in the interest of safety. And if Cleveland’s initial decision is indicative of their mindset, one figures that the club would not hesitate to err on the side of caution with such a timeline.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Indians Hitting Coach Ty Van Burkleo Opts Out Of Season]]> 2020-08-07T20:12:43Z 2020-08-07T20:12:21Z Indians hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo has elected to opt out of the season over coronavirus concerns, Zack Meisel of The Athletic was among those to report. He’ll continue to assist the club remotely. Meanwhile, Alex Eckelman will join the big league staff to join Victor Rodriguez and Justin Toole as coaches who will work with the Indians’ hitters in person, Anthony Castrovince of tweets.

Van Burkleo has been the hitting coach in Cleveland since before the 2013 season. While it’s difficult to quantify how much impact a coach can have on a team’s production, the team’s offense has generally been a strength since it hired Van Burkleo. The Indians are sixth in the majors in runs and ninth in wRC+ during his run on their staff.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Indians Designate Christian Arroyo For Assignment]]> 2020-08-06T21:01:02Z 2020-08-06T16:17:50Z The Indians announced today that they have designated infielder Christian Arroyo for assignment. That cleared one of two roster spots the club needs to trim its active roster down to 28 men.

To open another, the Indians optioned outfielders Greg Allen and Daniel Johnson while activating fellow outfielder Delino DeShields. He had been sidelined on the COVID-19 injured list.

Arroyo, 25, was a first-round pick of the Giants back in 2013, he cracked Top 100 prospect rankings from 2016-18. The Giants, though, flipped him to the Rays in the 2017 Evan Longoria deal, and he never got much of a look on a deep Rays roster. Tampa Bay traded him to Cleveland last summer in a deal that primarily netted international bonus money. Arroyo is a .215/.280/.342 hitter in 251 plate appearances spread over the past four seasons but has a career .298/.359/.487 slash in 418 Triple-A plate appearances. Arroyo has logged time at second base, third base and shortstop, so he has some versatility, but he’s also out of minor league options.

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Marlins Acquire James Hoyt]]> 2020-08-02T13:11:34Z 2020-08-02T00:33:24Z The Cleveland Indians have traded reliever James Hoyt to the Miami Marlins for cash considerations, per TribeInsider (via Twitter). Hoyt was designated for assignment on July 28th.

The Marlins continue their efforts to re-stock their pitching supply after more than half their active roster tested positive for coronavirus. They will need to field a big league roster as soon as Tuesday when they’re set to resume play. Basically, if there’s a pitcher with major league experience on waivers these days, chances are the Marlins will claim them. In the past week, they claimed Josh D. Smith and Justin Shafer from the Reds and Mike Morin from the Brewers. They also signed Pat Venditte and traded for Richard Bleier from the Orioles.

Hoyt pitched for the Astros from 2016 to 2018, making 66 appearances out of the pen across those three seasons. While he owned an unexceptional 4.40 ERA, a 3.84 FIP and 3.92 K/BB ratio suggested a better effort. He made just 8 appearances in his lone season with the Indians, serving primarily as organizational depth. In Triple-A, he continued to put up solid numbers (2.93 ERA, 3.50 K/BB across 30 2/3 innings).

While no spring chicken at the age of 33, Hoyt represents a solid low-cost option for the Marlins as they look to fill out their roster. For Hoyt, these are obviously not the conditions under which he would choose to break out as an MLB regular, but he nonetheless has the opportunity to do exactly that if he can provide Miami some stability out of the pen.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Indians Notes: Perez, Naquin, DeShields ]]> 2020-08-01T04:33:45Z 2020-08-01T04:33:45Z
  • Ryan Lewis of relayed updates on a trio of injured Indians on Friday. Catcher Roberto Perez, whom the Indians placed on the IL this week with a right shoulder issue, has experienced improvement. The club will re-evaluate him Tuesday. Outfielder Tyler Naquin, on the IL since last weekend with a fractured toe, has started sprinting. And fellow outfielder Delino DeShields, an offseason acquisition who still hasn’t made his Cleveland debut on account of a positive COVID-19 test, played 4 1/2 rehab innings Friday. There’s no word on when any of them will be ready to rejoin the Indians, though.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals-Brewers Game Postponed Due To Positive Covid-19 Tests]]> 2020-07-31T16:59:22Z 2020-07-31T16:55:47Z 11:55am: The Cardinals issued a statement that the two tests which came back positive were performed Wednesday prior to their game with the Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis. The Cardinals have not been to Miller Park yet. That statement carries particular significance for the Twins and for the Indians, who used Target Field’s visiting clubhouse last night.

    10:32am: The league announced that tonight’s game has been postponed. They’ll attempt to make it up as part of a doubleheader Sunday. MLB’s statements reads as follows:

    Today’s scheduled game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park has been rescheduled as part of a traditional doubleheader on Sunday, August 2nd at 1:10 p.m. (CT).  The rescheduling as a result of two positive COVID-19 tests in the Cardinals’ organization is consistent with protocols to allow enough time for additional testing and contact tracing to be conducted.

    That statement seems to represent a departure from the protocols of just one week ago, when the Marlins/Phillies series was played to completion despite as many as seven known positive cases by Sunday. It’s surely frustrating for some fans to see, but it’s also in the best interest of completing a 2020 season to update protocols based on the efficacy of the standing regulations.

    9:35am: SportsGrid’s Craig Mish tweets that two Cardinals players have tested positive so far. Both were pitchers, Saxon adds.

    9:25am: The Athletic’s Mark Saxon reports that if the remainder of the Cardinals’ roster tests negative, the series against the Brewers could still begin tomorrow. It remains unclear how many players and/or staff members on the club have tested positive, however.

    8:47am: Tonight’s game between the Brewers and Cardinals will be postponed due to positive Covid-19 tests within the Cardinals organization, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter links). Joel Sherman of the New York Post adds that the Cardinals are isolating at their hotel and have not been to Miller Park.

    It’s a discouraging development for the league, which had previously emphasized that the current outbreak within the sport was contained within the Marlins organization. Neither the Brewers nor the Cardinals have played (or will play) the Marlins in 2020 under the realigned schedule.

    The number of positive tests will be telling, but it’s easy to imagine widespread implications. The Brewers will obviously be directly impacted, but they’re unlikely to be alone. The Cardinals just traveled to Milwaukee from Minneapolis, for instance, after completing a two-game set with the Twins. Minnesota hosted the Indians last night, meaning the Cleveland players and staff were in the same visitors clubhouse that had just hosted the Cardinals. Both the Twins and Indians, then, could feel the impact of the Cardinals’ tests even if none of the players on either roster have tested positive yet. The Pirates, whom the Cardinals played in their first series of the season, are also likely on alert after today’s news. The Cards had been scheduled to take on the Tigers next week, but as we saw with the Marlins, Phillies and their upcoming opponents, that now could be subject to change, too.

    The hope, of course, is that the number of positives is minimal or even singular. Postponing a game based on a small number of positive tests would surely draw some criticism from fans, but the league would be justified in pointing to the prior Marlins outbreak as justification for not allowing a series to commence after a small number of players tested positive. The Marlins had four positives prior to that series, played the three games anyhow, and by yesterday were up to a staggering 17 positives among players and two on the coaching/training staff.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Indians Place Roberto Perez On IL]]> 2020-07-29T19:24:43Z 2020-07-29T19:24:43Z The Indians have placed catcher Roberto Perez on the injured list, skipper Terry Francona tells reporters including’s Mandy Bell (via Twitter). Outfielder Daniel Johnson will take the open roster spot.

    Perez is dealing with an injury to his right shoulder. There’s no indication as of yet as to the seriousness. For the time being, he’ll take at least a week off before determining the next steps.

    The Indians had already brought in Beau Taylor to cover for Perez. Taylor will pair with Sandy Leon behind the plate. The Cleveland organization will surely at least consider adding another catcher to the 60-man pool.

    The real concern here is that Perez could miss substantial time. That’d be a significant blow to the Indians. The 31-year-old is off to a rough start in 2020 but last year turned in 449 plate appearances of league-average hitting while delivering well-regarded glovework behind the dish.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Indians Select Beau Taylor, Designate James Hoyt]]> 2020-07-29T01:17:45Z 2020-07-29T01:17:45Z The Indians have selected catcher Beau Taylor, designated right-hander James Hoyt for assignment and optioned outfielder Daniel Johnson, Paul Hoynes of reports.

    Taylor, formerly an Athletics prospect whom the Indians signed to a minor league contract last offseason, is up as insurance as the the Indians await word on Roberto Perez. The Indians’ starting backstop and one of their most valuable contributors a year ago, Perez is dealing with right shoulder soreness at the moment. They should know more on his condition Wednesday, but for now, they’re down to Taylor and former Red Sox starter Sandy Leon as their top two catchers.

    Since he debuted in the majors with the Astros in 2016, the 33-year-old Hoyt has amassed 80 innings – including 8 1/3 during his first season in Cleveland in 2019 – and put up a 4.16 ERA/3.92 FIP with 11.7 K/9 and 2.92 BB/9. Notably, Hoyt carries a rather impressive track record in Triple-A, where he has logged a 3.09 ERA with 12.1 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9 over 218 2/3 frames. And considering Hoyt has another minor league option remaining, it wouldn’t be particularly surprising to see another team take a chance on him.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Indians Place Tyler Naquin On IL, Recall Zach Plesac, Outright Hunter Wood]]> 2020-07-25T23:59:05Z 2020-07-25T23:59:05Z The Indians made a series of roster moves today, most notably the placement (retroactive to July 22) of outfielder Tyler Naquin on the 10-day injured list due to a fractured toe.  Right-hander Zach Plesac was called up to take Naquin’s spot, getting an early promotion to the active roster since Plesac is scheduled to start Tuesday’s game.  In other moves, right-hander Hunter Wood was outrighted off the 40-man roster and assigned to the Tribe’s minor league camp.

    Naquin suffered the injury on Monday after fouling a pitch off his foot during an exhibition game.  Cleveland already called up Daniel Johnson for outfield depth while Naquin was recovering, but it appears Naquin will need more time to get back to full health.  The hairline fracture is just the latest injury to befall Naquin, whose 2018 and 2019 seasons were both cut short by hip surgery and a torn ACL, respectively.  Since finishing third in AL Rookie Of The Year voting in 2016, Naquin has only appeared in 169 games due to both injuries and inconsistency at the plate, though he posted a solid .288/.325/.467 slash line over 294 PA in 2019.

    With Naquin out, Cleveland has Johnson, Greg Allen, Jordan Luplow, Bradley Zimmer, Franmil Reyes, and Domingo Santana as available options for the corner outfield slots, though Reyes ismore likely to be kept in designated hitter duty.  Since the club thought Naquin might be able to avoid an IL stint altogether, that could imply he might be able to return after only the minimum ten days, or perhaps not long beyond.

    Wood was designated for assignment on Thursday, and will now remain in the organization after clearing waivers.  Acquired in a trade with the Rays last summer, Wood has a 3.32 ERA, 2.70 K/BB rate, and 8.4 K/9 over 86 2/3 career innings with Cleveland and Tampa Bay, though the home run ball has given him some issues during his brief time in the big leagues.  As MLBTR’s Steve Adams noted at the time of the move, it was rather surprising that the Tribe chose to DFA Wood, and it is perhaps even more surprising that none of the other 29 teams put in a claim while the righty was on waivers.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Predict The AL Central Division Winner]]> 2020-07-25T00:57:53Z 2020-07-25T00:57:53Z With final roster decisions in the books and the 2020 season underway at long last, it’s time to make some predictions. We’ll poll the MLBTR readership on each of the game’s six divisions — though plenty more teams will crack the postseason under the rather inclusive new playoff qualification system.

    There’s rather an interesting dynamic in the American League Central division this year. The Twins stepped up in 2019 and have added Josh Donaldson to an already potent lineup. They’ll try to hold off the Indians, who had previously enjoyed a stranglehold on the division and have some of the best core talent around. There’s no denying the immense potential that resides on the White Sox roster, which features both elite youngsters and newly inked quality veterans. The Royals feel they’ve got quick bounceback potential after a few down seasons; if a few players hit their ceilings, perhaps they could surprise. It’s harder to see a path for the Tigers, but they’ve also got a load of elite young hurlers pushing into the majors and will enter the season determined to make strides.

    Which team do you think is the best of the bunch? (Poll link for app users.)

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Indians Designate Hunter Wood For Assignment]]> 2020-07-23T16:33:35Z 2020-07-23T16:33:35Z The Indians announced this morning in setting their 30-man roster for Opening Day that right-hander Hunter Wood has been designated for assignment. The organization needed a 40-man space to clear way for the selection of righty Dominic Leone, infielder Mike Freeman and right-hander Cam Hill.

    Wood, 26, has plenty of success with the Rays in his first season-plus at the MLB level before being traded to Cleveland alongside Christian Arroyo last summer. He posted decent numbers with the Indians following the trade and carries a career 3.32 ERA and 4.04 FIP in 86 2/3 MLB frames, so it’s a bit of a surprise to see him on the outside looking in. It’s quite possible that another club with more questionable bullpen depth will have interest in swinging a deal for Wood, who has high-end spin and above-average velocity on his four-seamer. Barring that, he could generate interest on the waiver wire.

    Cleveland will have a week to either trade Wood, attempt to pass him through outright waivers or release him, although it’s tough to envision the latter of the three.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dominic Leone, Mike Freeman, Cam Hill Make Indians’ Opening Day Roster]]> 2020-07-22T23:49:02Z 2020-07-22T23:48:07Z The Indians have informed several players, including three who aren’t currently on the 40-man roster, that they’ve made the Opening Day club, Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon-Journal tweets. Right-handers Dominic Leone, Cam Hill, James Karinchak and Phil Maton; infielders Mike Freeman, Yu Chang and Christian Arroyo; and outfielders Greg Allen and Bradley Zimmer have all made the roster to begin the year. Leone, Hill and Freeman will each need to be added to the 40-man roster.

    The team has also informed a quartet of players that they won’t open the year on the 30-man roster. That includes first baseman/outfielder Jake Bauers and righties Jefry Rodriguez, James Hoyt and Hunter Wood. That Wood won’t be on the Opening Day roster is of particular note, as he is out of minor league options and thus cannot be sent down to alternate camp without first being run through outright waivers.

    It seems likely, then, that some form of 40-man move involving Wood will help to pave the way for the three non-roster players who’ve made the squad. Cleveland currently has 39 players on the 40-man roster, and Delino DeShields isn’t counting against the group either while on the Covid-19 injured list.

    The 28-year-old Leone has the most big league experience of the bunch, having logged 243 1/3 innings of relief dating back to his MLB debut with the Mariners in 2014. Leone’s past two seasons with the Cardinals went poorly, as he worked to a combined 5.15 ERA and 4.77 FIP in 64 2/3 frames, but the righty was excellent for the Jays as recently as 2017, when he pitched 70 2/3 innings with a 2.56 ERA and better than 10 punchouts per nine frames. In all, Leone joins the Indians’ bullpen with a career 3.92 ERA, 9.4 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 1.15 HR/9 and a 43.6 percent grounder rate.

    Freeman, who’ll turn 33 early next month, should be a familiar face for Cleveland fans after suiting up for 75 games there in 2019. Last year with the Indians, Freeman played second base, shortstop, third base, left field and even pitched two innings. Along the way, Freeman hit .272/.362/.390 with four homers and eight doubles — good for a 97 OPS+. That’s a solid showing from a part-time player, and although he had to work his way back on another minor league deal, Freeman clearly impressed the club enough to stick around as a depth piece.

    Hill, meanwhile, has never pitched in the Majors, so this’ll mark the 26-year-old’s debut season. A 17th-round pick by the Indians back in 2014, Hill has just a 4.81 ERA in 43 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level but impressed the club with a strong effort this spring (five innings, one run) and summer. He ranked near the back of the organization’s top prospect list at FanGraphs this year, where Eric Longenhagen wrote that Hill has “nasty” stuff but sub-par control that causes some concern.

    Wood, 26, has plenty of success with the Rays in his first season-plus at the MLB level before being traded to Cleveland alongside Arroyo last summer. He posted decent numbers with the Indians following the trade and carries a career 3.32 ERA and 4.04 FIP in 86 2/3 MLB frames, so it’s a bit of a surprise to see him on the outside looking in. It’s quite possible that another club with more questionable bullpen depth would have interest in swinging a deal for Wood, who has high-end spin and above-average velocity on his four-seamer. Barring that, he could generate interest on the waiver wire.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Indians Set Rotation]]> 2020-07-22T13:49:48Z 2020-07-22T13:49:48Z The Indians have set their rotation to open the 2020 season, manager Terry Francona told reporters including’s Mandy Bell (Twitter link). Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac have made the five-man unit.

    That decision leaves righty Adam Plutko on the outside looking in. He’ll jump into the relief unit to begin the season. With the short run-up to the season, there ought to be plenty of frames to go around.

    The 28-year-old Plutko made twenty starts for the Indians last year, working to a 4.86 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9. He had a lot of ground to make up to catch the other two hurlers.

    Both Civale and Plesac are 25-year-old righties who debuted with aplomb in 2019. The former limited opponents to 2.34 earned per nine in his first ten starts. The latter posted a 3.81 ERA in 115 2/3 frames.

    In both cases, there’s some cause to question the repeatability of the output. Civale benefited from a .250 BABIP-against, though Statcast suggests he has a real skill for inducing soft contact — related, no doubt, to his exceptional spin rates. Plesac’s own .255 BABIP-against doesn’t seem quite as sustainable. Opposing hitters produced a .315 wOBA against him last year, but Statcast spit out a far-less-promising .343 xwOBA based upon the quality of contact.