How would a Mike Clevinger trade to the Atlanta Braves even work?
The Cleveland Indians right-hander has fallen out of favor with his team after not taking the coronavirus seriously with teammate Zach Plesac, preferring a night on the town in Chicago instead of sticking to team protocols. But with too much talent to stay at the alternate training site forever, Clevinger could be traded by this afternoon. How would a trade work with the Braves?
Here is how Mike Clevinger can end up joining the Atlanta Braves’ rotation.
As of now, Atlanta is one of four teams with moderate to serious interest in the Indians starter, along with the Chicago White Sox, the San Diego Padres and the Toronto Blue Jays. All four clubs have the feel of postseason teams, but the Braves might be able to put together the most compelling offer for Cleveland. It would obviously involve their No. 2 prospect in Drew Waters.
Simply put, Waters is the carrot the Braves can dangle in front of the Indians that no other team can. Waters is the Braves’ No. 2 overall prospect and the No. 27 overall prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com. Despite a big league ETA of 2020, Waters is essentially seventh on the Braves’ outfield depth chart, including behind Atlanta’s top prospect in Cristian Pache.
Even though Clevinger may potentially clash with Braves team leaders in first basemen Freddie Freeman and outfielder Nick Markakis over all things coronavirus, Atlanta general manager Alex Anthopoulos needs to drive Waters to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and put him on the first flight to Cleveland, Ohio. The Braves cannot pass up a top-end rotational piece like Clevinger.
Because Clevinger has two more years of arbitration before he hits free agency in 2023, Atlanta could be looking at a fearsome foursome in its rotation for the next two years in Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Ian Anderson and potentially Clevinger. It’s not Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Steve Avery, but how could that not get Braves Country all sorts of fired up?
Simply put, if the Braves are to get Clevinger, Anthopoulos will have to give up Waters and then some. A package to the Indians may include right-hander Bryse Wilson or backstop William Contreras. Both are top-eight prospects in the Braves’ system. The question remains is Anthopoulos willing to blow up his farm system for a guy who blew up the Indians?
Atlanta may not end up with Clevinger, but the Braves can put together a great package for him.