It's never good news when a pitching factory like the Cleveland Guardians give up on one of their younger arms, but maybe they just wanted to rid themselves of a headache that might need a change of scenery. It could also be an opportunity for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are in need of pitching at the moment.
On Monday, the Guardians designated right-hander Zach Plesac for assignment after they activated Triston McKenzie from the injured list. Plesac never built off his success in 2019 and 2020, and instead remained below-average across 2021 and 2022 before imploding in 2023.
Through five starts this year, he surrendered 18 earned runs on 20 hits and five walks while striking out only 14. That's been good for a 7.59 ERA and 1.97 WHIP.
Though his Statcast page is largely disgusting, there are a few positives to possibly pinpoint for teams that would be willing to take a flyer on the 28-year-old. First off, his 4.50 FIP is right in line with his career norm. And he's also among the best in the league at avoiding walks and getting batters to chase.
Not bad qualities for a back-end rotation piece to have. But that'd be all the Dodgers would be working with if they bring him aboard, because even during his promising 29-start stretch to begin his career, Plesac's peripheral metrics were terrible.
Dodgers could be smart landing spot for recently DFA'd Zach Plesac
Let's get some more negatives out of the way. Plesac and former teammate Mike Clevinger (who been mired in controversy of his own) both got busted for breaking curfew/protocols during the COVID-shortened season when there were strict mandates for teams as the league navigated uncharted waters. He then called the media "evil" for reporting on what was very much true.
Next up, in 2021, Plesac injured himself angrily taking his shirt off after a poor start against the Twins. He slammed his hand into a chair and accidentally a broke his thumb, which landed him on the IL from May 24 until July 8.
But the Dodgers are closer to desperate than comfortable right now, because it can't get much worse than Michael Grove/Gavin Stone and Noah Syndergaard in the back of the rotation while Dustin May and Julio Urías are on the injured list. Plesac isn't the most attractive option, but he could be had for cheap and give the Dodgers some breathing room before the trade deadline.
His track record of lackluster play and immaturity isn't inspiring, but Plesac was a former top prospect whose silly 2021 injury kind of derailed whatever decent momentum he had to become a viable major league starter. Both parties are at the end of their rope right now. Why not give it a shot?