The most intriguing trade talks before Monday’s trade deadline are between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox, who are actively involved in discussions on a deal that would send Cleveland starter Mike Clevinger to Chicago, according to two persons with direct knowledge of the talks.
The persons spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing and other teams are in pursuit of Clevinger.
It’s no secret that Cleveland has been listening to offers to Clevinger to help their ailing offense, but stunning they would consider trading him to Chicago, with the two teams separated by only one game in the AL Central entering Sunday.
Clevinger, one of Cleveland’s top three starters, certainly would bolster the White Sox’s thin rotation, joining Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel and Dylan Cease.
The White Sox (20-13) haven’t made the playoffs since 2008, but they have a 97.6% chance to reach the postseason entering Sunday's games, according to FanGraphs. Clevinger could vault the team into World Series contention.
Clevinger had a 2.71 ERA in 21 starts in 2019. (Photo: David Richard, USA TODAY Sports)
Cleveland (21-12), which leads the AL Central, badly needs to enhance its offense, particularly in the outfield. The Indians outfield ranks last in the American League with a .185 average and an MLB-worst six homers through Saturday.
The White Sox would likely include outfielder Adam Engel and perhaps pitching prospect Michael Kopech, 24, who opted out of the season after recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Chicago picked up outfield depth earlier this week by acquiring Jarrod Dyson from the Pittsburgh Pirates. They also are in need of a pitcher after veteran Gio Gonzalez went on the injured list with a strained right groin, calling up rookie Dane Dunning from their alternate-site camp to make Sunday’s start against the Kansas City Royals.
The 29-year-old Clevinger – who may be the pitcher on the market – was demoted after violating the league's safe and healthy protocols, but returned to the majors on Aug. 26.
He is under team control through 2022, earning a prorated $4.1 million ($1.518 million) this year, and is arbitration-eligible the next two years. He has a 2.97 ERA with 10.22 strikeouts per nine innings since 2017.
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