LA Angels: Why The Angels Will Steer Clear Of Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac

With the Angels unsure of how they are approaching the trade deadline, will a pair of Cleveland pitchers entice them to buy?

With the trade deadline less than two weeks away, the Angels will have to make important decisions on whether they are buyers or sellers. Two names have emerged since their dilemma with the Cleveland Indians and while both have talent, their character is why the Angels will not go for them.

Cleveland Indians pitchers Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac both broke team COVID protocols during a pandemic and decided to go out past curfew and risk exposing teammates. This led to Plesac posting a video, trying to explain his actions to the world, which only caused him more trouble. It was later learned that Clevinger was with Plesac in breaking protocols, which resulted in both of them being suspended by the team.

The two pitchers were allowed to explain to their team about the situation in a team meeting, which then followed the decision to option both of them to their alternative site. This decision may cost both pitchers as they won’t accumulate service time, which means delaying their free agency even further. Additionally, this will cost the players money in the long run as they will be impacted in both salary arbitration hearings and the delayed entry into free agency.

On the Angels side of things, they are close to the bottom of their division and looking for anything to help improve their club overall. The Angels could definitely use help in their starting pitching staff. However, there may be some hesitancy in acquiring either of the Cleveland pitchers because of what they did, and how they tried to offer poor excuses. The reasoning behind this comes from the very top of their corporate ladder in owner Arte Moreno, who is no stranger in dealing with troubled players.

Every Angels fan remembers the signing of outfielder Josh Hamilton, and the problems that came with him as well. Hamilton played a key role in helping the Angels secure the AL West in 2014, however, a relapse with drugs halted his career and basically ended the relationship he had with the team. This led to an eventual trade between the Angels and the Texas Rangers, Josh Hamilton’s former team, that saw the Angels taking on most of his contract and not getting much in return. The team essentially decided they were just done with him in Anaheim and were clearly set on getting him out, no matter the cost.

Of course, the situations between Clevinger and Plesac are different from what Hamilton experienced but the Angels may not see it that way. Hamilton’s talent quickly declined after the whole ordeal and never saw his way back to the Majors. Clevinger and Plesac are different cases as Clevinger has emerged as one of the top pitchers in the Indians staff after producing 13 wins with a 2.71 ERA and an above average ERA+ of 176 in 126 innings pitched last season.

Plesac performed above average as well. In 115.2 innings pitching in 2019, he posted a 3.81 ERA and  an ERA+ of 125, which is 25 points above the league average. Both starting pitchers have performed exceptionally well over the course of their young careers, and teams shouldn’t ignore that type of talent, especially if they keep producing the same, if not better numbers.

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However, in the Angels case, they may not forget what they did to potentially expose their teammates and risk others lives. Outside of even meeting the Indians asking price on either arm, this may come to the decision of the man with most power again, Arte Moreno.