FanGraphs’ annual Trade Value series, which has run for the past 10 years, kicked off today and will be counting down the most valuable trade assets throughout the week.
For Indians fans hoping to see a big splash made at the deadline — perhaps trading away Trevor Bauer or Brad Hand for a king’s bounty — there is likely going to be some disappointment.
Trevor Bauer and fellow starting pitcher Corey Kluber both fell off of FanGraphs’ top-50 list after injury plagued and ineffective first halves to 2019. Kluber has been out since May 1 with a broken forearm, and Trevor Bauer hasn’t been able to replicate his Cy Young-caliber season of year ago. They’re now not listed among FanGraphs’ best trade targets after being the 12th overall and 47th overall highest values, respectively, last season.
Along with numbers 41-50 (none of which are Indians players), FanGraphs also released their honorable mentions for this year’s rankings, which includes one current Indian: Mike Clevinger.
Clevinger, a dark horse Cy Young contender before he tweaked his back in only his second start of the season, is considered by FanGraphs to be a “cost-effective starter with control and 3-plus WAR upside.” In other words, a very good, young starter who will be on your team for a while. Clevinger easily fits the bill as he won’t be arbitration eligible until 2020 and he won’t be a free agent until at least 2023. He’s also put up a combined 7.6 fWAR in just under three full seasons worth of starts and his strikeout rate is higher than ever in 2019.
Like most names on this list, Clevinger is extremely good and cost-effective and that’s exactly why he won’t be traded by the Indians. He fits right into the Indians’ window to compete perfectly, and will cost virtually nothing for at least a couple more seasons.
Now, of course, this doesn’t mean some front office out there can’t be duped by the Indians into taking Bauer for a cost-controlled, major-league outfielder and a pair of decent prospects or something wild — it only takes on stooge, after all. But the idea of trading Bauer away for a slam dunk deal is far from guaranteed, with or without him being on this list.