He was out of minor league options, meaning he either had to make the active roster or be sent to waivers.
The alternative was a trade.
That third option became the case Saturday when the Indians sent the veteran pitcher to the Baltimore Orioles.
We have traded RHP Adam Plutko to the Orioles.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) March 27, 2021
This is not a major shock, but remains a notable move nonetheless.
A Look Back at Plutko’s Career
Plutko was drafted by the Indians back in 2013 and made his MLB debut with two brief appearances in 2016.
He then ended up making 36 starts for the team between 2018-2020 with a total of 50 appearances.
The 29-year-old was never a star, but was still a reliable option when needed.
His career 5.05 ERA does not detail the fact he was called upon to replace injured starters on several occasions.
The writing was on the wall this year given he was out of minor league options.
One possibility was keeping him in the bullpen as a long reliever.
However, the Indians have plenty of young arms who could get a shot in that role this season.
They saw what Plutko could do and it did not warrant giving him a job for the summer.
Fallout From the Trade
The Athletic’s Zack Meisel shared an interesting note about what this trade could mean for the roster.
The Indians traded Adam Plutko to the Orioles for a player to be named later or cash. Plutko was out of minor-league options. This could clear the way for all of McKenzie, Allen and Quantrill to make the Opening Day roster.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) March 27, 2021
Now one could make it as a starter and the other could take that long reliever role.
Allen appears to be the favorite to take that fifth and final spot.
Quantrill is 26 years old and was acquired by the Indians in the Mike Clevinger trade.
His ceiling and potential remain much higher than Plutko’s at this point so this decision is a no-brainer.
Plutko’s Role in Baltimore
The Orioles are a perfect team for Plutko.
They remain in a major rebuild and he can eat up innings either as a starter or a reliever.
This allows him to get time on a MLB roster and continue his career.
Maybe he will have a great season and land a new contract, or even get traded to a better team during the summer.
It is a win-win for both sides and is a goodwill move as opposed to outright releasing him.
We wish him all the best as the Indians move on from yet another familiar face before the start of the 2021 season.