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Guardians reportedly open to dealing starting pitchers at deadline

Zach Plesac or Aaron Civale could be on the move

MLB: Cleveland Guardians at Minnesota Twins Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Cleveland Guardians are willing to consider trade proposals for their starting pitchers, with Zach Plesac or Aaron Civale the likeliest candidates. The asking price for Shane Bieber is reportedly “exorbitant.”

Not exactly earth-shattering news, since the front office has generally been willing to entertain trade offers for a variety of different players. But it will be interesting to see if the Guardians receive an offer for Plesac or Civale that is too good to pass up. In the past, Cleveland president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti has said that the club looks for trades that address both short-term and long-term needs, and I expect this season is no different.

Plesac and Civale are both under team control through 2025, but both 27-year-old starting pitchers are also arbitration-eligible next season. Neither pitcher has performed well this season. Plesac currently carries a 4.09 ERA and 4.18 FIP in 18 starts for the Guardians, and his Statcast page does not offer much hope that he is simply underperforming. Meanwhile, Civale has fared worse, with a 6.17 ERA and 4.23 FIP through 12 starts. He is currently on the injured list with a wrist sprain and inflammation and is expected to return to action in August.

The Guardians are already short-handed in terms of starting pitching, as evidenced by the fact that Bryan Shaw made his first career start on Tuesday. So the return for Plesac or Civale in any trade would likely need to include a starting pitcher, unless the club is planning to move Shaw and Ernie Clement into the rotation.