According to John Heyman, the Cleveland Indians are — not surprisingly — receiving a lot of interest in their young core of starting pitchers. Namely Shane Bieber, Aaron Civale, and Zach Plesac.
Indians are receiving inquiries about their young starting pitchers (Bieber, Plesac, Civale, etc.) and have a no-untouchable policy. Will take a lot obvs but interesting.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 13, 2019
As Heyman notes, it’s not going to be easy to get any of these guys but it’s also not hard to see either Civale or Plesac being traded at some point if one of them isn’t shifted to the bullpen. Heading into 2020, the Indians will theoretically have a rotation of Mike Clevinger, Carlos Carrasco, Corey Kluber, Shane Bieber, Aaron Civale, Zach Plesac, and Adam Plutko.
Plutko is maybe the least enticing name on the list and carries probably the least amount of trade value, but he’s out of options and not worth dumping for nothing. That leaves either Civale or Plesac relegated to the minors or the bullpen, or packaged up with other prospects to fill the gaping hole at second (or third) base. It might make sense on paper, but as the Indians saw season, there’s no such thing as too much good starting pitching.
Of course the Indians should do the due diligence and listen to all offers, but Bieber should be as close to untouchable as untouchable can be. At just 24 years old and in his first season as a full-time starter, Bieber emerged as one of the game’s best pitchers with a 3.28 earned run average, 25.5% strikeout-to-walk ratio, and a smile that moves mountains.
Bieber pitched well enough to come in fourth in MVP voting and was awarded named the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player after joining the roster as a last-second addition. He doesn’t even hit arbitration until 2022 and, assuming the Indians don’t sign him long-term beforehand, he won’t be a free agent until as early as 2025. He’s not going anywhere.
As with all these offseason rumors, take it with a grain of salt. Of course the Indians are listening on young pitchers, and of course some agent or front office executive called Jon Heyman to let him know so they could get leverage over the Indians. But for now, all three are still members of the Indians and their futures are extremely bright.