The Cleveland Indians have legitimate playoff and title aspirations this season, but there are some holes to fill.
Plesac also just injured himself taking off his shirt and is out for several weeks at the least.
The Indians rank 18th in the Majors with a 4.38 starting pitching team ERA.
Cleveland is currently 26-21, good for second place in the American League Central.
If the Indians hope to stay in the playoff race for a full 162, they are going to have to make some changes, and those changes could start by bringing in these two pitchers.
2. Jon Gray
Jon Gray has been with the Colorado Rockies for his entire seven-year career, but that chapter might come to an end at the upcoming trade deadline.
Gray has been inconsistent on a year-to-year basis, but 2021 has been one of his stronger seasons.
The 29-year-old currently has a 3.43 ERA over 10 starts and would provide immediate relief to the Indians as a fourth option in their rotation.
At 19-31, the Rockies aren’t going anywhere this year, so it would be no surprise to see the team clear out some expiring contracts (like Gray’s) prior to the July 31 deadline.
If Gray does land in Cleveland, he would go from pitching in one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks (Coors Field) to one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks (Progressive Field).
Interestingly, Gray has had more success at the hitter-friendly Coors Field this year than he has on the road.
5 QS (out of 7)
0 QS (out of 3)
— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) May 24, 2021
It would be very intriguing to see how big of a factor a new ballpark would be in Gray’s performance.
1. Max Scherzer
If the Indians want to become the favorites in the AL Central, this splash would do the trick.
Max Scherzer has spent his last six seasons with the Washington Nationals, but his contract is up at the end of the year.
The Nationals are not looking like a contending team this year, so it seems like a very realistic possibility that Scherzer gets dealt.
The 36-year-old is still one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball.
Scherzer is a three-time Cy Young Award winner and has finished in the top-five of the race seven times.
Each of those seasons was consecutive, spanning from 2013 to 2019.
Scherzer has a 2.27 ERA, 3.27 FIP, and 0.85 WHIP across 10 starts this season.
He has fanned 85 batters in 63.1 innings.
The righty would change everything for Cleveland should he land there.
Scherzer and Bieber would become one of the most lethal one-two punches in the game, and the starting pitching staff would go from a weakness to a strength.
It’s tough to gauge what the asking price would be for Scherzer.
The Nationals don’t have tons of leverage considering their positioning in the standings.
In other words, everyone knows that Washington likely will trade him.
One Pitcher to keep an eye on during the Trade deadline 👀 Max Scherzer pic.twitter.com/mR3riN0gpJ
— Mike Patchett (@Yankees267) May 20, 2021
On the other hand, however, there will surely be a huge market for the ace, which would drive up the asking price and potentially start a bidding war.
We’ll see what the Nationals do with the future Hall of Famer as the deadline approaches.