Right team, right deal, right time for Sox, Clevinger

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • The White Sox officially signed free-agent starting pitcher Mike Clevinger to a one-year contract Sunday. The deal includes a $12 million mutual option for 2024 with a $4 million buyout.

    The White Sox officially signed free-agent starting pitcher Mike Clevinger to a one-year contract Sunday. The deal includes a $12 million mutual option for 2024 with a $4 million buyout. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 12/4/2022 7:30 PM

Mike Clevinger could have waited for another team to express a strong interest in his services.

He could have dragged out his stay on the free-agent market with the hope of getting a more lucrative contract.

 

In the end, the White Sox were the right team with the right deal at the right time.

"I didn't want to wait," Clevinger said on a Zoom call Sunday night. "I wasn't going to wait. The Chicago White Sox came and they were very interested. They've always been a fan of mine and they've seen me over the years pitch against them. They expressed interest and what they saw in me, and it wasn't really a matter of so much the monetary aspect as it was the place I wanted to be, the roster I wanted to set myself up with in picking my destination."

Earlier Sunday, the Sox officially signed Clevinger to a one-year, $12-million contract.

The deal includes a mutual option for the 2024 season.

Under terms of the agreement, Clevinger is set to make $8 million in 2023. The right-hander has a $12 million option for 2024 that includes a $4 million buyout.

The 31-year-old Clevinger was 7-7 with a 4.33 ERA in 23 games (22 starts) with the Padres this year.

After having Tommy John surgery and sitting out the entire 2021 season, he missed the first month of this year with a sprained right knee suffered during spring training. From May 17 through August 1, Clevinger was 3-3 with a 2.81 ERA.

When he reports to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz., for spring training in mid-February, Clevinger will be fully healthy and looking to regain the form he showed with Cleveland, where he went 42-22 with a 3.20 ERA from 2016 until being traded to San Diego on Aug. 31, 2020.

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"I'm feeling like a normal person again," the 31-year-old starter said. "It's good to get back in the gym doing normal stuff, sprinting and doing more normal work. I'm playing catch. I haven't picked up the intensity yet but I can already tell, dude there were times at the end of the season, there were days the day after I pitched where it would be hard to walk out to center field, let alone run out there."

Clevinger is excited to join a White Sox rotation that features Dylan Cease, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech.

"These dudes have electric stuff," he said. "It all starts with Lynn. He's been there, done that and I've heard nothing but great things all the way down to Kopech. So I'm excited to get in the mix and even watching Cease, I feel like I've watched his whole career and it seemed like every time we watched him pitch it was like waiting on this year to happen. His stuff was so elite, his stuff was so above and beyond so many guys.

"Amazing to watch. I want to pick his brain, I want to pick his brain about his slider. I'm just excited to join this group of talented dudes and big personalities."

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