It was just over a week ago that the Cleveland Guardians designated starting pitcher Zach Plesac for assignment. It was a two-pronged move as the Guardians were activating Triston McKenzie from the injured list while potentially sending Plesac down to Triple-A to work some things out. Plesac has since cleared waivers and accepted his assignment to Columbus.
On one hand not losing Plesac to the waiver process is a positive. On the other, it is quite telling that there was not a single team willing to claim Plesac.
The 2023 season has been a struggle for Zach Plesac. It has been a career-worst season across the board for the 28-year old veteran. In five starts Plesac compiled a 7.59 ERA, 1.969 WHIP, 15.6 hits allowed per nine innings, and 5.9 stirkeouts per nine innings. With those numbers in mind, it is not exactly a surprise to see 29 other teams pass on his services.
The results from this season are hardly an outlier as his performance has been in decline from his first 29 career starts. Plesac looked like he could a valuable mid-rotation starter with how he pitched in 2019 and 2020. A 3.32 ERA and 1.088 WHIP over that span made it appear that Plesac was a virtual lock in the rotation for years to come. Unfortunately since 2020, things have not gone his way.
In the following 55 appearances, Plesac has seen those once solid numbers balloon to an unacceptable level. Dating back to 2021, Plesac's ERA sits at 4.72 to go with a 1.309 WHIP. Obviously those numbers are much worse this season, but this trend of decline is too glaring to ignore. The Guardians hand was forced and they had to make a move one way or the other. Maybe Plesac figures things out in Columbus, but it is possible that this is what he is now and there is no fixing it. Cleveland's front office is hoping for the former, while the latter seems more likely at this point in time.