What does Mike Clevinger bring to the White Sox?

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What does Mike Clevinger bring to the White Sox? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The White Sox made their first major move of the offseason yesterday, signing Mike Clevinger to what is reportedly just a one-year deal. With this move, the White Sox have likely completed their starting rotation for 2023 - Dylan Cease, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, and Clevinger.

Just a few years ago, signing Clevinger would have likely been a universally celebrated signing for the White Sox. But, between a second career Tommy John surgery, questionable decision-making that taught us more about his clubhouse presence, and a pretty subpar 2022 season, Clevinger has lost a lot of the luster he had back when the White Sox targeted him before he was traded to San Diego.

To his credit, it appears Clevinger was well-liked in San Diego and learned from his ways in Cleveland. Still, while the character clause may be less of a concern now, what about the person on the mound?

Let's break down this deal, what there is to like, and what the risks may be - as well as how Clevinger might be able to get back to his previous form.

The Contract

After much speculation, we know now that Clevinger's deal is likely one year for $12M.

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Clevinger signed a two-year, $11.5M deal to buy him out of his arbitration years while undergoing Tommy John surgery, and given general market trends, it feels as though a one-year, $10M deal with a second-year option or $2M buyout makes the most sense for a deal like this. So, one year and $12M guaranteed, with the potential for more. However, it could just be as simple as a one-year, $12M deal.

To break that down a bit further for those who feel that is a steep price to pay: here is where a potential Clevinger contract stacks up against free-agent deals prior to the 2022 season, along with their previous season ERA+ and total IP. Note that Clevinger posted an 86 ERA+ in 114.1 innings in 2022.

Given what we know, it makes sense that Clevinger would fall within this general $8M-$14M range. This information, combined with Clevinger's history that is better than anyone's on this list outside of Greinke's, likely was the reason Clevinger will get $12M in guaranteed money from this deal. Short-term AAVs are usually going to be higher than long-term AAVs.

This is, by all accounts, a market-standard contract for someone that is going to be a mid-to-back end of the rotation piece.

Read more about the pros and cons of signing Clevinger - including why his fastball may be the key to his resurgence - by finishing this article at soxon35th.com.

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