In early December, the Chicago White Sox announced they had signed Mike Clevinger on a one-year, $12 million dollar deal. He was a shoo-in as the fifth starter after the signing. Clevinger was coming off a tough year in San Diego after missing all of 2021 due to Tommy John’s surgery.
At the time, it was a great signing for the Sox. Clevinger had some really good years with the Guardians prior to surgery and was looking to have a big bounce-back year in 2023.
However, Clevinger’s time with the Sox may be ending as quickly as it started due to allegations of domestic assault and child abuse. Because of this, the fifth starter spot will be wide open going into spring training.
Now, if they would’ve just paid Johnny Cueto, this would not have been a problem. It even would’ve provided depth which is something that is unfamiliar to the Sox.
Now they are without an anchor to a good rotation and will likely have to count on a guy with limited experience to step up for those innings.
The Chicago White Sox will be looking for a new fifth starter this spring.
The current front-runner for the job is Davis Martin. Although Martin wasn’t great in 2022, you have to consider that he went all the way from AA to the MLB in one year.
He had almost no time to develop or get comfortable. Even when he was called on to pitch in 14 games last year, it wasn’t the worst thing ever. His stats were pretty similar to Clevinger’s as he had a 4.83 ERA and a 6.82 K/9 while Clevinger posted a 4.33 ERA and a 7.20 K/9.
This doesn’t mean that Davis Martin is the answer to all of their problems but he should be a solid replacement for what Clevinger likely would’ve provided.
The Sox still have a very solid rotation with Dylan Cease coming off the best season of his career, Michael Kopech coming back healthy, Lucas Giolito looking for a bounce-back year, and Lance Lynn doing Lance Lynn things.
At the end of the day, we really never knew what Clevinger was really capable of. We could’ve seen him continue on his decline but we also easily could’ve seen the 2017-2020 Clevinger who was a stud.
If Clevinger doesn’t in fact come back, there’s a chance that Davis Martin could surprise some people as he’s continued to develop throughout the off-season.