Clevinger returning to White Sox on 1-year deal

April 4th, 2024

KANSAS CITY -- officially rejoined the White Sox on Thursday, agreeing to a one-year, $3 million deal, as announced by the team.

Clevinger was optioned to the Arizona Complex League White Sox to continue his move toward the Majors. General manager Chris Getz estimated his arrival could be at the end of April or early on in May. The 33-year-old right-hander finished 9-9 with a 3.77 ERA over 24 starts in 2023 as quite possibly the most consistent member of the White Sox rotation.

He fanned 110 and walked 40 in 131 1/3 innings, earning $8 million in ‘23 with a $12 million mutual option for ‘24 and a $4 million buyout. However, the right-hander declined his ‘24 option and became a free agent.

“We were interested in signing him earlier. He certainly was seeking the best opportunity for him,” Getz said. “And he made the decision, based on where we’re at today, now was that time to sign and we’ll have a window to build him up and then eventually joining our Major League club.

“We’ve got Garrett Crochet, who’s off to a tremendous start. We also know navigating a full season with someone who hasn’t done that, there could be some adjustments that need to be made along the way. And even throughout our starting rotation presently or any of the candidates, you’ve got 162 games, you’ve got a lot of innings to cover. It’s in the best interest of the organization to have impact-type arms that can help us at any point.”

The White Sox will go with a four-man rotation, in Crochet, Michael Soroka, Erick Fedde and Chris Flexen, and nine relievers through at least the first nine games of the season. A fifth starter would be needed Monday in Cleveland, and while rookie Nick Nastrini is lined up for that start after pitching for Triple-A Charlotte during their 26-11 loss to Norfollk on Wednesday, it won’t necessarily be him.

Nastrini dealt with an illness at the end of Spring Training. He’s starting to feel good and is on the mend, but his stuff was done a bit on Wednesday. So, the White Sox could go with a bullpen day as they were preparing to do against the Braves before the series finale was postponed, allowing Nastrini to work closer toward 100 percent.

“At some point, we will have a fifth starter,” Getz said. “We’ve got some candidates to fill that role.”

“That’s really not up to us, right? That’s up to days off and the weather,” White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “If it matches up that we don’t need it, we don’t need it. But there’s going to come a time where we’ll need it. Right now, we’re in a good spot with nine relievers and four starters.”

To make room for Clevinger on the 40-man roster, infielder José Rodríguez was designated for assignment. The addition of Clevinger was not met with overwhelming support across the White Sox fan base in the wake of allegations of domestic abuse against the mother of his 10-month-old daughter, as well as abuse of the child last year. No suspension was handed down by Major League Baseball.

“I certainly don’t want to be dismissive of events that involve domestic violence, by any stretch,” Getz said. “You’ve got to trust the people leading the investigations.

“Based on the information we have now, we’re very comfortable with having Clev join the White Sox and be part of our Major League club eventually. And the reason we’re most comfortable is based on the investigations that have taken place beyond the Chicago White Sox.”

Clevinger’s arm is in good shape, as he’s been throwing at home and has worked his way to three ups. He’ll go through the continued build up process and knows what he needs to not only get to the White Sox but be a competitive part of the rotation.

White Sox teammates enjoyed having Clevinger as part of the ‘23 clubhouse and respected his work ethic.

“He’s a competitor. He’s an extremely hard worker,” White Sox reliever Tanner Banks said. “He’s a good guy to model your game after. He’s always prepared.

“You hear him talking in pitcher-catcher meetings and he leads them, but he’s one of those guys that like I said works extremely hard and it’s fun to watch him take the ball and compete. He’s a guy you look forward to taking the ball every five days. You are going to get 100 percent of what he’s got every time.”