Padres reportedly exploring two-year deal with Mike Clevinger

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The Padres are reportedly working towards signing Mike Clevinger to a two-year deal. Why it makes sense, and what’s next.

The Padres pulled off one of the most surprising trade deadline moves, acquiring Mike Clevinger from the Cleveland Indians in a blockbuster deal.

The 29-year-old was rumored to be on the trade market after violating the team’s COVID protocols while on a road trip in Chicago.

Despite the shortened season, the Padres found themselves a starter short with Joey Lucchesi optioned to the team’s alternate training site. Clevinger made four starts for the Padres, posting a 2.84 ERA while fanning 19 batters in 19.0 innings. The soon-to-be 30-year-old made his best start with San Diego on September 13, tossing 7.0 innings to go along with seven strikeouts.

Clevinger followed that outing with a one-inning effort, in which he prematurely left with bicep tightness. An MRI later revealed that the Padres’ top trade deadline acquisition suffered an elbow sprain. Clevinger attempted to return in the NLDS against the Dodgers but lasted just an inning before similar symptoms forced him to an early exit.

Despite the injury concerns, the Padres believe their ace will be ready for spring training next year. According to MLB Trade Rumors, with Clevinger under team control for another two arbitration-eligible seasons, A.J. Preller and the Padres’ front office are trying to lock him into a firm two-year deal.

The Padres must feel some level of comfort in Clevinger’s injury and recovery to lock him in with guaranteed money. The deal accomplishes two things. It prevents San Diego from potentially having to pay Clevinger big money if he has a Cy Young-like season. And it obviously gives their pitcher some level of security where he’s going to pitch for the next couple of seasons.

While no numbers have been floated around, Spotrac has Clevinger earning an estimated $5.2M in arbitration this offseason. It would make sense to backload the two-year deal, and the Padres could include a club or player option for 2023 as well, potentially keeping him in San Diego for an extra season than originally planned.

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