Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac have caused a major Cleveland Indians rift.
Cleveland may have a stacked rotation and one of the better teams in the AL Central, but the Indians have reached a critical point internally regarding two of their starting pitchers. Clevinger and Plesac got busted for breaking protocol after leaving their Chicago hotel on Aug. 7. Both players tested negative for COVID-19 and have since been optioned to the alternate training site.
Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, “during a testy meeting Friday, Cleveland Indians players scolded teammates Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac for breaking protocol and going out in Chicago, and at least one player said he would opt out of the season if the two remained on the active roster.” While Clevinger and Plesac can help the Indians win, it doesn’t seem like they’ll be welcomed back.
Should the Cleveland Indians forgive Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac?
Well, relief pitcher Oliver Perez said he’d leave the team if either of them return, so there’s that. Fellow pitcher Carlos Carrasco had a bout with leukemia last year. Star infielder Francisco Lindor said their violation of trust has hurt the heart of the team. And of course, there is what Adam Plutko said when he joined the rotation in the wake of their demotion down to AAA.
“They hurt us bad. They lied to us. They sat here, in front of you guys, and said things publicly that they didn’t follow through on. It’s gonna be up to them. It really is.” Seemingly every player on this ball club has been negatively affected by what Clevinger and Plesac did to them back in Chicago. What they did was selfish and the epitome of being a bad teammate. Could they return, though?
The Indians are 13-9 through 22 games in a 60-game, coronavirus-shortened MLB season. They are game back of the first-place Minnesota Twins in the AL Central standings. If the season were to end today, the Indians would be the No. 5 seed in the expanded AL postseason field. They have the presumptive favorite to win the AL Cy Young in Shane Bieber. It’s not the end of the world.
However, each game is too important this season. You rarely see a violation of trust this highly publicized or as well scrutinized like Clevinger and Plesac displayed. While they still may be under contract with the Indians and were playing well before being demoted, but it doesn’t feel like you can bring either of them back into a fractured clubhouse. They may have to sit this one out.
If Cleveland does call up Clevinger or Plesac, that will be massive news in the baseball world.