Our South Side Sox team hopes everyone had a safe and enjoyable holiday! As you recover from your food comas of the last few days, let us help you digest the most recent bites from the White Sox Hot Stove. Spoiler alert: There may be a turkey in this one.
On Friday, Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported that the Sox are interested in free agent RHP Mike Clevinger.
White Sox showing strong interest in free-agent right-hander Mike Clevinger, sources tell @TheAthletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 26, 2022
Then, just minutes ago, Rosenthal tweeted that it’s a done deal as long as Clevinger passes his physical. As such, there has not been confirmation of the signing from the White Sox as of yet.
Free-agent right-hander Mike Clevinger in agreement with White Sox, pending physical, source tells @TheAthletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 27, 2022
Sox fans should be familiar with Clevinger, as he pitched his first four-and-a-half seasons with the Cleveland. The soon-to-be 32-year-old was drafted by the Angels in the fourth round of the 2011 draft and traded to Cleveland in 2014. He made his major league debut in May 2016 and, by 2017, was a permanent part of their starting rotation.
During his stint with Cleveland, Clevinger was exceptional. In 80 appearances, he posted a 44-23 record, 2.96 ERA, and struck out 513. Midway through the 2020 pandemic season, Clevinger was traded to the San Diego Padres. He pitched well for the Padres for the remainder of 2020, going 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA. But as it turned out, Cleveland sold high on Clevinger, as in 2021 Clevinger underwent Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career. He missed the entire 2021 season and did not pitch again until May 4, 2022.
Clevinger’s 2022 season was less than stellar. In 23 appearances, he went 7-7 with a 4.33 ERA and 0.6 WAR in 114 1⁄3 innings. Additionally, he pitched horrifically in the 2022 postseason, going 0-1 with a 23.63 ERA in only 2 2⁄3 innings. In Game 4 of the NLCS, he didn’t even get a single out before he was given the hook.
So, Sox fans, please sit back and strap it in for another let’s sign an oft-injured player and hope he can stay healthy for us episode of South Side baseball.
As mentioned above, Clevinger will need to pass his physical for the deal to be official. An important note is that according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, most of the 42 major league pitchers who have had two Tommy John surgeries pitched poorly afterward, or did not even pitch in the major leagues again. This signing is clearly a high-risk, high-reward type of deal that the team is forced to make due to prior misspending of funds, and an overall lack of spending. Does this sound like a move that a team with a supposed open contention window makes? No, it doesn’t, except if you are the Chicago White Sox.
Once the Clevinger deal gets officially inked, we can assume he’s taking Johnny Cueto’s spot in the rotation. Going on the 2022 regular season stats alone, we’re replacing Cueto’s 3.5 WAR with Clevinger’s 0.6. Yep, it seems about on par with typical Sox baseball. Remember, we’re also losing José Abreu’s 4.2 WAR, so this signing is supposed to help make the Sox better than 81-81? Give me a break.
OK, enough doom and gloom. Let’s instead look at a possible move that stands a better chance of making the Sox a better team in 2023. Yesterday, Bruce Levine from WSCR linked the Sox to Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Kolten Wong. Milwaukee opted to pick up Wong’s option for the 2023 season but is still looking to shed salary, so the Brewers are thought to be shopping the second sacker. Think the keystone-less Sox should be ringing up north?
Wong is a 32-year-old lefty who slashed .251/.339/.430 with a 3.1 WAR in 2022. This would be a definite upgrade from the combined .244/.294/.385 and 1.9 WAR projected by FanGraphs of Romy González, Lenyn Sosa, Leury García, and Yolbert Sánchez for the 2023 season. On the defensive end, Wong has been up and down, as he won two Gold Gloves (2019, 2020); however, in 2022, he committed 17 errors.
Since second base has long been an issue for the Sox, trading for someone more than competent at the position would be a breath of fresh air if Wong can get it together defensively.
A successful trade all depends on who the Sox would have to give up; presuming a Milwaukee salary dump, it shouldn’t really be much. Here’s hoping Hahn isn’t creating other holes in this bullet-ridden roster if this trade were to come to fruition. Although, of course, we know this is probably asking too much of Rick to be competent at his job.
With the signing of Clevinger, did Sox fans get a turkey for Thanksgiving?
This poll is closed
Yes if this turkey cost more than $10 million, no if under.
Can we just acquire a guy who didn’t lie to his team and get demoted during the pandemic, is a Trever Bauer fanboy, and at least briefly abandoned his family?