Getty Images

Indians talking trades of Francisco Lindor, Mike Clevinger

4 Comments

The Cleveland Indians won 93 games last year. In the three years before that they won 91, 102, and 94 and the AL Central title in all three years. They entered the 2019-20 offseason with, substantially, the same team from those four seasons and every reason in the world to think that they should be contenders for a division title in 2020.

They seem intent, however, on simply giving up.

Last weekend they traded Corey Kluber. Which, hey, I didn’t like that because I think he’ll be solid this season, but at least one can say “we won 93 without him in 2019, we can win without him in 2020.” Fine, for purposes of this conversation I’ll grant you that even if I think it’s less-than-rigorous analysis.

That they continue to shop their all-world shortstop Francisco Lindor and a team-controlled starter who put up a 174 ERA+ last season is another matter all together, though, is it not?

The latest on Lindor:

And Mike Clevinger:

The justification for trading Lindor has been that, hey, he’s getting more expensive in arbitration and one day Cleveland will lose him to free agency. That it’s the Reds calling Cleveland on that — a Reds team that, generally speaking, is not leaps and bounds richer than the Indians — kind of undercuts the justification. If the Reds are going for it, there is no reason on Earth the Indians shouldn’t be too.

As for Clevinger, who has put up a 2.96 ERA and fantastic peripherals over the past three seasons, the issue is not that the asking price is “sky high.” It’s that there should not be an asking price at all. He’s just entering his first year of arbitration and is under team control through the 2022 season. Why on EARTH would you trade a guy like that while you’re still in contention? That’s the kind of guy teams IN contention try to acquire!

The answer is, apparently, that the Indians ownership and front office aren’t all that interested with contention. Which should make Indians fans ask why they should be at all interested in the Indians in the first place.

Indians hitting coach Van Burkleo opts out due to COVID-19

Getty Images
Leave a comment

CHICAGO — Cleveland Indians hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo has opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns about contracting the COVID-19 virus.

Team President Chris Antonetti said Friday that Van Burkelo had been contemplating his departure for some time because of a personal high-risk condition and for his family. The Van Burkleos have a special needs child.

Antonetti said the challenges of traveling and the lack of room in road ballparks may have been the tipping point for the 57-year-old Van Burkleo, who is in his eighth season with the club. He had been under fire for Cleveland’s early offensive struggles.

“We are fully supportive of Ty’s decision,” Antonetti said, adding Van Burkleo remains employed by the team. “He’ll continue to provide support remotely and contribute any way he can from home.”

Antonetti said Alex Eckelman will join the staff to assist Victor Rodriguez and Justin Toole working with the Indians hitters.

Antonetti said the team spoke with all its coaches and staff before the season about working amid the inherent risks from the coronavirus. He said Van Burkleo was committed, but that the wear and tear of the protocols, particularly on the road, may have made it impossible for him to feel safe.

Van Burkleo’s departure further complicates several issues with the Indians’ coaching staff.

Manager Terry Francona will miss his sixth straight game Friday while addressing a gastrointestinal issue he’s combated for months. The 61-year Francona did not make the trip to Chicago and it’s not yet known if he’ll be back next week.

The Indians are off Monday before opening a two-game series at home against the Cubs.

First-base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. has been filling in for Francona. Earlier this week, third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh left his regular spot to help Alomar in the dugout. Cleveland has been without bench coach Brad Mills all season after he decided to spend time with family following the tragic drowning of his grandson this offseason.

Antonetti acknowledged the season has already presented numerous hurdles.

“We’ve had to deal with a lot of things and a lot of adversity over the course of the last few months and that’s been highlighted in the last week or so with some leadership challenges,” he said.