Dodgers: The Time To Trade For Mike Clevinger Is Now

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.

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:

  1. Walker Buehler
  2. Clayton Kershaw
  3. David Price
  4. Julio Urías
  5. Alex Wood
  6. Dustin May
  7. Ross Stripling
  8. Tony Gonsolin
  9. 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?

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:

  1. It gives other teams time to swoop in and get him
  2. There aren’t many other options that could be available that are as good as Clevinger
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger


  1. If we can pull a trade like that off that would be amazing but I have my reservations about AF being willing to part with those types of assets

  2. The Dodgers need to get a deal for this guy done. I think they are set offensively so add the missing pieces (another good starter and a shut down closer or at least, set up man who can be switched to closer should Jansen continue to falter. Get it done AF!!

    1. SP does that mean Friedman should give Cleveland whatever they want in order to get Clevinger? I think that would be a huge mistake, but ever since AF traded for Betts and Price many of you have jumped in to the deep end of the pool with trading frenzy. Take a chill pill and lets see what spring brings as far as players stepping up. The starting pitching is already as good or better than last year even with Ryu gone. I believe May and Gonsolin could be stars in this league but they have to be given a chance. They and Urias should get to pitch a lot n the spring so they will get their chance to put up. If Stripling is still here I suppose he’ll get a crack at it too if for no other reason but to showcase what he’s got to offer…. another team! and who knows Moreno still might pull that ten foot pole out of his but and do the trade over which gave them one thing they desperately needed, a pitcher with real experience in Strippling and some one else who can play in the outfield and hit bombs….and strike out alot. Its a win win for both teams…

  3. Not sure that Clevinger is so important now because it would take one of the top prospects. This one can indeed wait until the trade deadline. By then we will have a better sense of just what May and Urias and maybe Gonsolin will contribute. We will also see where the bullpen is. If Jansen/Trienen/Kelly/Graterol are scuffling then that’s more of a concern than another stud starter. I think we should hang onto Pedersen because he hits in the post season. We could run out four stud starters and still lose if we continue our abysmal postseason hitting.

    1. Probably would be best if we hang on to a Clevinger trade and wait and see what May, Urias and Gonsolin do. I, for one am hoping for that.

  4. I’ve been pulling for a Clevinger, Lindor deal for months. I’d still like to get both or either one of them. We’re pushing the salary cap pretty hard right now, but Clevinger is a bargain, and a proven performer in his prime, with no injury issues. It just depends on who you have to give up to get him. It should be explored/pursued.

    1. Totally agree. I think just clevinger would be less in return. The lindor piece of a trait is what was going to cost the Dodgers.

  5. They’re not getting Clevinger. Were you not paying attention when these discussion were going on this winter? Cleveland wants the Dodgers to empty their farm for him. Do you think the Dodgers should put themselves in Boston’s present position in 2021? The Dodgers have three terrific young pitchers in Urias, May, and Gonsolin; let them pitch.

  6. How about putting Stripling and Peterson in a package and maybe one more mid-level prospect and see if either the Cubs (Bryant) or Indians (Clevinger) are interested?.

    1. The Indians would probably say “Hey weren’t you going to give those guys to the Angels for free?” But it would be a starting point. Maybe we could offload Pollack and/or Kelley. We have enough to win it all now. I would bargain hard with the Indians, to give up as little as possible in terms of top prospects. They would have to come down from earlier demands for multiple high level prospects. But if Lindor was in the deal, I’d give them Lux in a heartbeat. We’d go from a slow team, to a speed team (with Lindor and Betts) that hits alot of home runs. Lux for Clevenger alone also works for me, straight across, with no other Dodger prospects.

  7. Dumb article,Urias is 10 times better than that mediocre pitcher,we have 4 better than him.

  8. Yes, it makes total sense for Cleveland to trade one of the best pitchers in all of baseball who is still under their control for three more years for a bucket of baseballs… NOT! The ONLY way that you could get Clevinger now is to trade Lux, Urius and Peterson for him, and that’s not going to happen. You Dodger fans are clearly delusional.

  9. the reason the dodgers are the top organization [106 wins] is they blend “home growns” with free agents and trades to be under the luxury tax. look at the farm we’ve cultivated. seager, bellinger, buehler, verdugo, lux, smith, may, gonslin, beaty, and many more in the wings. the reason we got mookie and price is boston spent lavishly and unlike the dodgers, are in a world of hurt financially with luxury tax woes. that forced them to give up there once in a century home grown betts. what makes anyone think may and gonsolin won’t be at clevenger’s level soon? we already are 8 deep in starters for crissake. we are fine as is.

    1. My point was when and not if they dump Joc and his 7 million dollar contract, they might as well get some value as opposed to a guy that hit .230 in the minors.

    2. Clevenger is only going to make $4M/yr, and he’s under control for 3 years. He’s cheap. That’s how you stay under the luxury tax. Last year’s failure free agents, Pollack and Kelley make alot more than that. The issue is not the money, it’s avoiding giving up top prospects to get Clevenger. May, Gonsolin, Gray, and Ruiz should be off the table. Urias should be on the table. I would even consider Lux straight across. Obviously Pederson and Stripling would be on the table. And offloading Pollack and/or Kelley would be a dream come true.

      1. My God dude, you want to give our star players away! And for what? This is now a GREAT TEAM! Our young prospects are extremely talented. We did not want to give Boston Jeter Downs but it was necessary to complete the Betts/Price trade. Now Pollack is an injury waiting to happen but when healthy is a good player. Lux will knock you out when you see him play!

  10. How about Pederson,Stripling Urias and pay half of Pollocks contract?Judging by how much a lot of fans here value Pederson, you’d think this would work for Cleveland.

  11. This is about the silliest article I’ve read in a considerable length of time. The Indians aren’t trading him. Go back to the nut house.

  12. With 3 young arms who have been waiting for the chance to play, an offense that 1-8 can produce 25 or more HRs each, a great mix of youth and veterans our battle tested team. Do the Dodgers “need” another SP? I say nay, especially at the cost it would. What if an injury happens to a different impact player, no more young resources to trade for a replacement virtually killing our chances for the WS. I’ll bet the FO will continue to make intelligent transactions based on short and long term goals.

  13. Ole Smokey you can keep your 11 wins averaged pitcher we have 4 better than him and all 4 throw harder too.???

  14. Gonsolin and May are on the Edge of being real good starters. Add Urias and it would be unprobable one of these guys won’t be a real good #3 or 2 this season. Considering these 3 I wouldn’t give much at all for Clevenger. They can have Pederson Ruiz and Pollock or something but not much else. Clevenger had a great season but is 29 now. Yeah he’s good but so is May and Tony G.

  15. Stop lusting after our team. Cheap players under team control are the lifeblood of the Tribe. We’re not trading him. Y’all ain’t coming off your top prospects and your loaded farm system so STFU until you’re actually ready to deal, jerks. GTFO

  16. Urias,Gonsolin,May,Buhler are all 10 times better than this clown. EVEN IF Urias,May and Gonsolin are limited to 175 innings,we have Wood,strippling who will pitch to give these guys rest.Even strippling is better so no thanks.Friedman already messed up once trading Verdugo no need to do it twice.

  17. Giving up on May or Gonsolin is wrong in so many many ways! With Price as starter #3 , Clevinger is a good hurler but not really a need! This is a trade the news wants. With Stripling still here he can fill that Right handed slot just fine. And Price will love pitching at Chavez Ravine.. No, Clevinger isn’t a priority. We should let our top pitching prospects a chance. There is a damn good reason why everyone else WANTS them! Jeter Downs will be a very good 2b/SS maybe better than Lux, Maybe.And Alex Verdugo was just blocked by Pollack and Pederson. He will be a stud! He’s a very good fit at Fenway Park.

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