Now that the Dodgers have traded for Mookie Betts and David Price they still need that one last stud starting pitcher. I’m talking about a guy that can fill the number two spot in a playoff rotation behind Walker Buehler and have the potential to dominate.
1. We lost Ryu and are probably getting Price. Still needed.
2. Added more question marks but I like it. Losing Maeda in the playoffs could suck
3. Betts will work
4. Keeping Muncy at 1B is good. Lux s/b good at 2B. Better health may help the left side. Overall, a little better.
— Tim Rogers *??- SDDODGER (@SDDodger) February 9, 2020
Power pitchers play up in the postseason. It is possible that a Dustin May, Julio Urias or Tony Gonsolin could step into that role but do we want to count on them for 2020? They are probably all on an innings limit and I don’t expect them to fulfill that co-ace type role until 2021. As of right now, the rotation looks like this:
- Walker Buehler
- Clayton Kershaw
- David Price
- Julio Urías
- Alex Wood
- Dustin May
- Ross Stripling
- Tony Gonsolin
- Jimmy Nelson
The top five are probably the starters to begin the season. Notice four of the five are left-handers? There is one way to easily fix these issues; trade for Mike Clevinger.
What Type Of Pitcher Is Clevinger?
Mike Clevinger, 2019 Highlights. ???? pic.twitter.com/nxVFFWiLjW
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) December 7, 2019
One of the sites I use for pitching is details is FanGraphs. Using their information, here is the breakdown of his pitch types, usage percentage and the average velocity:
- Fastball – 51.1% – 95.5 MPH
- Slider – 25.6% – 80.8 MPH
- Curveball – 12% – 77.7 MPH
- Changeup – 11.3% – 87.1 MPH
I really like the fastball velocity and it should play up in the post-season. There is a good pitch mix with plenty of variations of velocities with Clevinger.
Why Not Wait Until July?
Many have suggested that the Dodgers should wait until July to trade for Mike Clevinger. Clevinger isn’t a free agent for three years and is making $4.1M this coming season. What advantage is there to wait? Maybe waiting to see how May and others step up this season? Let’s be very clear, Mookie Betts very well could only be with the Dodgers for 2020. Nothing else is guaranteed. Here are some disadvantages for waiting until July:
- It gives other teams time to swoop in and get him
- There aren’t many other options that could be available that are as good as Clevinger
- The Dodgers can control his innings. With all the depth the Dodgers have in their rotation they can afford to have him delay or skip starts as needed. He has missed significant time in two of the last three years and had Tommy John surgery in 2012.
- The Indians might be trying to sign him to a contract extension that keeps him past free agency
With his lower salary and team control, the cost to get Clevinger will not go down.
What Would Give The Indians A Reason To Trade Him?
Before we talk about what it will take to trade for Mike Clevinger here’s a question? Over the next 2-3 years, what will the young Dodger pitchers (excluding Walker Buehler) contribute in the playoffs? Can any of them be that strong second starter behind Walker Buehler?
“The cost to trade for Clevinger will be very high.” – Captain Obvious
- It’s going to take one of the young starting pitchers (excluding Walker Buehler). Could this be the time to trade Julio Urías or one of our top pitching prospects? For me, the answer is “yes”.
- A young catcher – even without Connor Wong the position is still deep. Will Smith is the starting catcher now so he is off the table. The Indians have a good starting catcher in 31-year-old Roberto Pérez so a young catcher might be needed.
- Maybe Joc Pederson? If the Dodgers pay half of his salary Joc could be a good fit. Of course, he’s only one year away from free agency. It’s obvious the Dodgers are interested in trading Pederson after the failed Angels transaction. The Indians don’t have any real good outfield options.
- The draft pick they just acquired from the Twins
- One wild card prospect
For reference, the Dodgers top-30 prospect list is available to show all the options that they could use in a trade. The Dodgers do have some untouchables, but we don’t know who they are. Speculation is that Gavin Lux and Dustin May are untouchables. The only way the Indians would consider trading Clevinger is to be given a trade that is clearly worth the effort. What I’ve stated above could be close.
— Momentum (@Watch_Momentum) January 17, 2020
The Dodgers have one guaranteed year of Mookie Betts, who is an amazing baseball player. Their lineup should be excellent and players like Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen are not getting any younger. A playoff rotation of Buehler, Clevinger, Kershaw, and Price sounds like it would match up well. Mike Clevinger could be that final piece that brings the Dodgers one step closer to a World Series win in 2020. He would also not be a free agent until after 2022. The window for the Dodgers to win the World Series is wide open but it is closing for some of them. The trade cannot be made without giving a lot back but it could also be made without jeopardizing the future.
Time to trade for Mike Clevinger.