As baseball's Winter Meetings get underway Sunday, the White Sox have finalized their first major offseason roster addition.
The White Sox announced they’ve agreed to a one-year, $12 million deal with free agent starter Mike Clevinger that includes a mutual option for 2024.
Clevinger will earn $8 million in 2023. The mutual option is worth $12 million and holds a $4 million buyout.
Clevinger fills the rotation “void” left by Johnny Cueto, who proved to be a great pickup after signing around Opening Day 2022 but appeared unlikely to return after hitting free agency last month.
“Cueto gave us a good chunk of innings and pitched real well in them,” general manager Rick Hahn said at the GM Meetings last month. “So that's a void right now.
“Finding a way to fill that would be good.”
Clevinger, who turns 32 this month, returned last season after missing all of 2021 following Tommy John surgery. He finished with a 4.33 ERA and 1.198 WHIP in 23 games (22 starts), tallying 114 1/3 innings.
He spent 2016-20 with the Guardians, posting a 3.20 ERA in 101 games (88 starts). Cleveland traded him to the Padres at the 2020 deadline.
The veteran Clevinger joins a rotation featuring Cy Young runner-up Dylan Cease, Lance Lynn, Michael Kopech and Lucas Giolito, with Davis Martin adding depth the group. All six are right-handed pitchers.
Lynn, who underwent knee surgery before last season, finished strong over the final two months after a slow start. Kopech is recovering from knee surgery but is expected to be ready for spring training. Giolito is looking to bounce back in 2023 after one of the worst seasons in his career.
Pitching coach Ethan Katz said last month adding another starter was the White Sox' “base need from the pitching standpoint.” With Clevinger officially aboard, the White Sox’ attention will turn to other needs, including second base and the outfield.
And although Andrew Vaughn will move to first base after José Abreu signed with the Astros this week, the Sox now must replace Abreu's consistent production in the middle of their lineup.