It’s no secret that the Boston Red Sox have been bad this year. Yesterday, they became the first team in the MLB to 20 losses. Not ideal, especially considering Boston’s front office was emphatic in the fact they were ready to compete in 2020 during this past offseason.
The reasoning behind Boston’s struggles have been very apparent. The offense hasn’t played to their potential, and the pitching staff (other than Martin Perez and Nathan Eovaldi) has been a hot mess.
Now if the entire Red Sox rotation not named Nathan Eovaldi or Martin Perez would opt out, we’d be cooking with gas.
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) August 2, 2020
With everything seemingly going the wrong direction for the Sox, they have already started selling off pieces of the roster. And with the trade deadline exactly one week away, fans should expect more dominoes to fall. But could one of those dominoes be outfielder Andrew Benintendi? It sounds possible to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
In @TheAthletic Rosenthal says Benny is available in a trade when talking about Clevinger/Plesac (CLE would rather trade Clev, with 2 yrs left). Mentions Benny’s (2 yrs left) poor start and rib injury as an example of why it’s hard to find a good match.https://t.co/HbrIQqCowg
— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) August 24, 2020
Rosenthal proposes the idea of a trade of the 2018 World Series champ to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for one of their problematic starters (Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac).
In the team meeting that led to Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac’s demotion, a veteran threatened to opt out if they remained with the Indians. Inside the fallout — and potentially huge service-time implications — of Cleveland’s decision.
News at ESPN: https://t.co/4oeUX985mU
— Geoff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 17, 2020
As it is noted, the more likely of the two pitchers to be traded would be Clevinger. He only has two years of control left compared to Plesac’s five. For a team like Cleveland that doesn’t shell out money left and right, that’s a big deal.
With all that being said, would a straight-up deal of Benintendi for Clevinger work?
On the surface, this imaginary deal would work for both sides. The Indians rank dead last in outfield OPS, and -as I mentioned- Boston’s rotation is nothing to write home about.
The #Indians outfield thus far in 2020:
Franmil Reyes 0.6 fWAR
Delino DeShields 0.1 fWAR
Domingo Santana 0.1 fWAR
Tyler Naquin -0.2 fWAR
Greg Allen -0.2 fWAR
Jordan Luplow -0.2 fWAR
Oscar Mercado -0.3 fWAR
Every bit the dumpster fire it looked to be.
— Ted (@tlschwerz) August 17, 2020
At the same time, Benintendi is both hurt and not producing, while the Indians are in the middle of a playoff push. So it doesn’t really make sense that the tribe would give up a starter that has posted a sub 3.20 ERA the past three years for a slumping outfielder.
|162 Game Avg.||15||8||.656||3.20||36||32||1||0||0||0||188||151||70||67||20||74||1||210||3||0||3||768||141||3.57||1.193||7.2||1.0||3.5||10.1||2.85|
On the other hand, Indians prospect Triston McKenzie impressed in his first career start and the re-integration of Clevinger / Plesac into the clubhouse may not go very smoothly.
Triston McKenzie, 79mph Curveball (swinging strike), and 94mph Fastball (swinging K), Overlay. pic.twitter.com/VdJ8PYx1pV
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 23, 2020
So is it possible? Of course, but it isn’t likely due to Benny’s injury. But could the chances be better if the Sox included, say, Kevin Pillar?
The Indians would be able to upgrade their outfield for this year with Pillar (.793 OPS), as well as the future with Benintendi. At the same time they will be getting rid of a pitcher that has caused a divide within the organization.
On Boston’s side of things, they would be able to add an all-star caliber pitcher to a rotation looking to bounce back in 2021. Clevinger along with Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, and (potentially) Martin Perez would be nothing to laugh at.
This trade may be imaginary right now, but this looks like a win-win to me. What do you think? Leave a comment below!
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– Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)