The Indians made Mike Clevinger available this week in part because he lost their trust after breaking coronavirus protocols, but also because he had declined their extension offers and they couldn't afford him long-term.
This perfect storm took a pitcher who should've joined ace Shane Bieber atop Cleveland's rotation and made him expendable. The Red Sox, desperate for pitching in 2021 and beyond, were unfortunately never going to be a factor for Clevinger, even if they wanted him, a fact the Padres made clear on Monday.
San Diego acquired Clevinger hours before the trade deadline for a package including three of its top 11 prospects.
In the process, the Padres illustrated the chasm between their farm system and Boston's, which was decimated by years of one-way trades under former president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski that built a powerhouse World Series champion in 2018 at the expense of the team's future.
According to multiple reports, the Padres will send shortstop Gabriel Arias (their No. 7 prospect, per MLB.com), left-hander Joey Cantillo (No. 9), and middle infielder Owen Miller (No. 11) to the Indians. Joining them are former top-50 prospect Cal Quantrill — who had been linked to the Red Sox in Mookie Betts rumors this winter — as well as outfielder Josh Naylor, the 12th pick in the 2015 draft.
Arias is a 20-year-old with power who projects to be a plus defender at a key position. Cantillo owns a lifetime ERA of 2.51 in three seasons since being stolen in the 16th round as one of the youngest players in the 2017 draft. Miller is considered an above-average hitter in the mold of former Padres (and Red Sox) standout Mark Loretta.
That's a ton of talent, and the Red Sox might not have been able to pull together such an offer even with their best prospects. The Padres, by contrast, retained some of the most highly regarded youngsters in baseball, including left-hander MacKenzie Gore, shortstop C.J. Abrams, right-hander Luis Patino, and catcher Luis Campusano.
The deal offers a reminder of Bloom's task — repopulate the Red Sox farm system so that Boston can not only build from within, but contend for talents like Clevinger if they hit the market. Bloom has already taken that approach with his first two deals, landing a pair of promising pitchers from the Phillies for closer Brandon Workman and setup man Heath Hembree, and a pair of position players with potential from the Padres for first baseman Mitch Moreland.
As the clock ticks towards 4 p.m., Bloom could still move setup man Matt Barnes and catcher Christian Vazquez. If he does, expect the return to be dominated once again by prospects, because the only way to build something sustainable is from the bottom up.