Friday Five: Trades for the Cleveland Indians to move Mike Clevinger

Starting pitcher Mike Clevinger #52 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
Starting pitcher Mike Clevinger #52 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /
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Austin Meadows, Tampa Bay Rays
Austin Meadows #17 of the Tampa Bay Rays (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

This is probably the most outlandish possibility for the Indians to get in return for Clevinger, but it also isn’t exactly impossible. Landing a 23-year-old All-Star in Austin Meadows wouldn’t be easy, but the  Indians have the farm system to pull it off.

We’ll begin with what the Indians would be giving up this time around, and it might look like a lot. Clevinger is the core of the deal and would help solidify the starting five in Tampa Bay well, a team that currently doesn’t have a starting pitcher with an ERA under 4.10. The other pieces though, are just as big.

With Meadows in Cleveland, there would be even less reason to keep Daniel Johnson around. The odds would be against him of landing a spot, and although the situation in Tampa Bay isn’t much better, his potential would be intriguing enough. An outfield loaded with young talent, the Rays could afford to downgrade from Meadows to Johnson if it means adding a steady arm to the rotation.

The other Cleveland piece going away would be Yu Chang. The Indians have been in this situation before when a young talent is stuck behind a strong player. It’s even happened recently at third base with Gio Urshela being behind Jose Ramirez. Beginning as a depth player with the option of earning a starting spot in Tampa, Chang is more valuable to the Rays than he could be with the Indians.

So could two MLB-ready prospects land a 2019 All-Star? Well, this season could help that. Meadows is having a “down year” with only three home runs and a .271 average. However, his stats from a year ago are more than enough to make him intriguing, knocking 33 home runs and maintaining a .291 average at the plate.

Being a left-handed bat, Meadows would fit in perfectly to what the Indians need, which could push them to be willing to spend even more than what I listed. Not to mention he has a lot of club control left on his contract that would allow him to stay put in the Cleveland outfield for years to come.