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Report: White Sox showing “strong interest” in Mike Clevinger

by Jordan Lazowski

The hot stove is cooking, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the White Sox have a “strong interest” in free-agent starting pitcher Mike Clevinger.

Clevinger was one of several names mentioned as part of our list of 10 starting pitchers that the White Sox should consider this offseason. He was traded to the San Diego Padres back in 2020 in a move that sent pitcher Cal Quantrill, catcher Austin Hedges, shortstop Gabriel Arias, utility infielder Owen Miller, outfielder Josh Naylor, and left-handed pitcher Joey Cantillo to Cleveland.

After serving as one of the three aces of the Cleveland Guardians staff a few years back, it’s been far from smooth sailing for Clevinger since then. After missing all of 2021 and part of 2020 due to Tommy John Surgery, Clevinger came back this season with a few miles per hour off his fastball and some pretty poor results as a whole. He failed to get the same swing-and-miss stuff on any of his stuff, and after posting a career-high strikeout rate of 33.9% in 2019, his 18.8% strikeout rate in 2022 leaves a lot to be desired.

Taking a bet on Clevinger is absolutely buying low at this point, and there is no guarantee he really returns to form. However, given Ethan Katz’s track record, as well as Clevinger’s own track record of …

  • A season with 200 IP
  • A 2.96 ERA in 489.1 innings from 2017-2020 before his injury
  • A 28% strikeout rate and a 9.0% walk rate from 2017-2020 before his injury

… the White Sox may feel comfortable giving Clevinger a sort of “prove it” deal of one year plus an option if all goes well for him.

While a deal doesn’t appear to be imminent just yet, if a national writer such as Rosenthal is reporting something like this, it’s worth keeping an eye on. As more information becomes known, we will continue to provide updates.

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Featured Image: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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Aaron Sapoznik


FYI: Mike Clevenger will turn 32 in December. Johnny Cueto will be 37 in February. Clevenger is also two years removed from his November 2020 TJ surgery. Cueto hasn’t exactly been a model of health and productivity as a Giant since 2016 either. Clevenger has both age and a better track record of more recent ‘ace’ production on his side.

Rick Hahn has his hands tied with budget restraints from his boss. If I had to gamble on either pitcher my money would be on Clevinger. That said, Hahn has many more options with second and third tier free agent arms than just these two. He also figures to explore the trade market for a SP in addition to his pursuit of a lefty bat who can also provide better defense in the outfield, fill the hole at 2B and perhaps add a veteran catcher.

Aaron Sapoznik

The White Sox still have a fairly young core with most under team control for at least 3 more seasons. This offseason they need to find a 2B, add a left-handed hitting bat for the OF beyond expected RF Oscar Colas and at least one SP if not two to fill out their rotation.

Adding a catcher would be a bonus in 2023 with Yasmani Grandal still under contract for one more season. They could attempt signing a defense-first veteran backstop to take some of the load off of Grandal. They might also target a controllable starting catcher as they look ahead to 2024 and beyond. Trading for A’s receiver Sean Murphy or one of the three ‘young’ Blue Jay catchers would make sense for the White Sox with no sure fire prospect ready to assume full time duty in their system.

Mike Clevenger would be a solid buy-low option for 2023 seeing as how he will be two years removed from his TJ surgery. He will also benefit from a full offseason of hands-on coaching and medical assistance from whatever team signs him. The owners lockout prevented that from happening as a rehabbing Padre last winter.

An additional SP, preferably a lefty would also be nice. Jose Quintana would fit the bill and also provide a bit more certainty in terms of durability. Michael Kopech will be behind the other starters this spring as he continues to rehab from his late September knee surgery. Ethan Katz is hoping that Kopech might be stretched out enough to give the White Sox 5 innings by opening day and that’s assuming no further setbacks along the way.


I don’t understand the seeming reluctance to bring back Johnny Cueto, at this point a known commodity…as opposed to speculating on damaged goods with Clevinger. There’s barely even an age difference.


Only the White Sox fish for bottom feeders’ while the Angels, Astros, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners, Padres, Phillies, and Yankees cast for the trophies.

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