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Hey Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger, Was It Worth It?

Cleveland had the best pitching staff in the game when the 2020 season began. And now thanks to Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac they have the dumbest one.

Mike Clevinger by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY SA-2.0

Hey Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger, Was It Worth It?


Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Cleveland had one of the best pitching staffs in the game when the 2020 season began. Through their first 22 games, their team ERA of 2.68 is the best in the American League, and second in the MLB behind the Dodgers.

But that’s probably going to change after pitchers Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac were optioned to the alternate site after breaking multiple COVID-19 protocols.

Clevinger and Plesac left the team hotel in Chicago on August 7th. Early the next morning, Plesac was caught attempting to re-enter the hotel and was promptly sent to the alternate site. Clevinger, on the other hand, stayed with the team and participated in the team meeting where players aired their grievances.

Francisco Lindor was upset. Oliver Perez, one of Cleveland’s top bullpen arms, said he would opt-out of the season if Clevinger and Plesac stayed. Other players were pissed. The atmosphere in the Cleveland clubhouse was tense for sure, and there’s a good reason for that.

Carlos Carrasco, the 2019 AL Comeback Player of the Year, is just over a year removed from his diagnosis of Leukemia. Carrasco’s road back to the majors was not easy. As he is on the mound, he was ready for the fight.

And then two idiots decide they need a night out in Chicago and risk his life by possibly exposing him to the virus.

After playing a quarter of the season with COVID protocols in place, seeing teams get shut down, and ramifications of endangering others, Plesac and Clevinger not only walked out of their hotel, but also walked out on their team.

And now, they’re both off the team for the foreseeable future. They’re not out of the organization, but they’re not in the clubhouse. Or as Jeff Passan explains, the implications of this decision are much, much larger.

“If Clevinger remains on option for 20 days, the maximum number of rostered days he can get is 47 — which, under the formula, would equal 130 days of service this year. That would leave him with 3 years, 171 days — one day short of reaching four years of service. By keeping Clevinger down, Cleveland could delay his free agency by a year.

The potential repercussions for Plesac are sizable too. He began the year on option for two days, meaning Cleveland needs to keep him down for 18 days more this season to affect his service. With a full year of service, he would be on track to be a Super 2 — arbitration eligible four times instead of the standard three — following the 2021 season. If he finishes 2020 with 130 days of service, Plesac would not reach arbitration until after 2022.”

Have you ever made a stupid decision that put the lives of other in danger? And did that same decision cause you to lose out on millions of dollars? And did that same decision taint your reputation as well as the reputation of the organization you work for?

Plesac and Clevinger can answer “yes” to all of those.

This move is more than likely happening as a way to clear the clubhouse of stress and tension than anything else. While the optioning comes off as a punishment for the two rogue pitchers, it’s not really punishment in the short term. But it will be in the long run.

And that’s the main thing you have to remember when it comes to asking what Plesac and Clevinger were thinking. Did they truly understand the ramifications of their actions, or are they truly selfish pricks who don’t think about anyone but themselves?

… My money is on the latter.

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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