The Cleveland Indians will never be synonymous with the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers. While the Yankees and Dodgers spend to win, the Indians organization works with a dollar store budget. After falling one game short in the 2016 World Series, the Indians didn’t make a move to put them over the top and they haven’t made it back to the American League Championship since. On top of that, the Indians traded away three Cy Young award winners and let Michael Brantley sign a team friendly deal with Houston. With all these frustrations, one thing is clear: the Dolans run one of, if not the, classiest organizations in all of baseball. Sometimes it’s nice to know that the team will rarely be in the news like the New York Mets for some off the field drama. Now this is not taking into account the name change or Chief Wahoo, the latter was especially mishandled, but this is about knowing the Indians don’t put winning above everything.
Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac broke the rules and the Indians are willing to tank their season to make a point. How many organizations would be willing to do that? It is hard to say, but remember Major League Baseball like all professional sports at the end of the day is all about winning. It is refreshing when an organization makes a decision that is best for the organization as a whole and not based on their place in the standings. Thus far the situation hasn’t affected the team on the field. The Indians swept the Detroit Tigers over the weekend and the pitching depth of the tribe could make this all a moot point. One thing is for sure, Plesac and Clevinger are two important pieces to the Indians future and the rest of the team made it clear that they are still unhappy with the immature decisions they made. At least one player said they would opt out if they rejoined the team (Yahoo!Sports).
The Indians decided to send the two pitchers to Lake County where the alternate training site is located. They will have to stay at the site till at least the beginning of next week, but there isn’t any certainty they will be recalled at all (espn.com). Back in 2004 the Indians had a rising star in Milton Bradley, he was a five tool centerfielder and believed to be a cornerstone piece of the Indians future. During spring training, Bradley failed to run out a popup and before opening day he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Now looking back at the way Milton Bradley’s career unfolded the Indians made a smart decision, but at the time they traded away a talented player for not running out a popup. The Indians proved then and now that they won’t stand for nonsense on or off the field.
As frustrating as the Dolans ownership of the Indians can be at times, with the lack of spending in free agency, at least the Indians won’t turn into the clown show that is the Mets or Miami Marlins. Whether this episode turns into a Milton Bradley situation or just a blip will be left up to Clevinger and Plesac. Both pitchers haven’t exactly left their teammates impressed with their handling of the situation. Based on reports from before Sunday’s game in Detroit, both players came to apologize and then were sent to the alternate training site (espn.com). Hopefully this is a learning experience for two young players or this could be the end for one or both in Cleveland. It is up to them, but no one should make any mistake the Indians will blow up this pitching staff to make a point.