Astros: A trade for pitcher Mike Clevinger could help rotation

The Cleveland Indians have considered trading pitcher Mike Clevinger. If the Astros could swing a deal, he’d be a nice addition to the starting rotation.

The Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland have reportedly been in discussion about a trade involving Mike Clevinger, but the talks have come to a stall. Maybe the Astros should get into the action and see what the Indians want for Clevinger. He’s a talented young pitcher that could fit in well with the starters.

The free-agent market for starting pitchers has thinned out considerably and if the Astros are still in pursuit of help with the starting rotation, seeking a trade might be their best option. Especially for a relatively young pitcher like Clevinger that still has a couple of years of team control left. Plus his 2020 salary of $4.5 million is quite palpable for the cash strapped Astros.

This past season has been Clevinger’s best, going 13-4 with a 2.71 ERA and a lofty 174 ERA+. His FIP (2.49) and WHIP (1.056) were also the lowest in his 4-year career. He racked up 169 strikeouts in 126 innings of work for a 12.1 SO/9IP.

Clevinger has a career 41-21 record and an ERA of 3.20 and has improved his numbers every year. He has posted double-digit wins the last three seasons and even eclipsed the 200 strikeout mark in 2019. He’s also been a solid workhorse getting in a minimum of 120 innings a season since 2017.

He will be eligible for arbitration for the next two years and will most likely get a significant raise next year and so it seems the money pinching Indians might want to unload him before the cost goes up. The San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers have also shown an interest in Clevinger. The Astros front office is notoriously quiet about what they may have in the works. Who knows, they may already be in the mix.

The downfall in any attempt to acquire a starter with the talent that Clevinger possesses is at what cost it would require to come to an agreement. They were apparently wanting the Angels top prospect and another player and that is apparently the snag in their talks.

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So they may want someone like Forrest Whitley as part of any deal involving Clevinger. But would that really be that bad? Afterall, Clevenger is still young and has proven himself to be an asset to any rotation and Whitley still seems to struggle to make into the Big Leagues. Astros GM has always balked at giving up Whitley, but maybe it’s time.



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