What the Mike Clevinger deal says about your White Sox fandom originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Editor's Note: "What the Mike Clevinger deal says about your White Sox fandom" originally appeared on Sox on 35th. Jordan Lazowski of Sox On 35th will be a regular contributor to NBC Sports Chicago's White Sox coverage for the 2022 season. You can read more of their coverage at SoxOn35th.com, and follow them on Twitter at @SoxOn35th.
Earlier this week, the White Sox signed free agent starting pitcher Mike Clevinger to a one-year deal, reportedly worth $12 million. The news came with mixed emotions. Some people were excited by the deal and feel the White Sox now have one of the best rotations in baseball...
... others, not so much.
Regardless of how you personally feel about the signing, your gut reaction is the correct one.
If you're optimistic about the signing, you have every reason to feel that way. Clevinger was a Top 10 pitcher from 2017-2019 while playing for the then-Cleveland Indians. He also gets to work with Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz that seemed to turn Carlos Rodon into a perennial Cy Young candidate, and Clevinger is another year removed from having Tommy John surgery. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Clevinger can turn into some version of what we saw in Cleveland. If Clevinger can perform that well for the White Sox while earning a market value salary of $12M, then this signing is basically a no-brainer - especially for a team that needed an additional rotation arm.
However, there are significant risks that come with Clevinger, both on and off the field. For starters, Mike Clevinger was not a successful pitcher the last time we've seen him play. Last year, for the San Diego Padres, the righty had a 4.33 ERA to go along with a 4.98 FIP in only 22 starts. Clevinger had the highest HR/9 of his career last season which also saw a season-career low in K/9. This is after a season where he had his second Tommy John surgery. The variance that Clevinger could be awesome for the White Sox in 2023 also works the other way. It's certainly a possibility that Mike Clevinger turns out to be another version of Dallas Keuchel.
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