Mike Clevinger has witnessed the growth of several Chicago White Sox players from a distance.
“I was on the other side of enemy lines for so long against the White Sox,” the right-hander who pitched for Cleveland from 2016-2020 said Sunday during a video conference call. “I feel like I played against TA (shortstop Tim Anderson) and a lot of those boys. I remember (left fielder/DH) Eloy (Jiménez) came in as a rookie and the saw it grow to the point where you couldn’t just throw cursors at it.
“It’s going to be really fun to be one of those guys now.”
The Sox officially added Clevinger to their pitching squad on Sunday, announcing a one-year, $12 million deal.
“He struggled with a knee problem at times last year and, partly due to his own stubbornness, kept going through it, but when he was in perfect health he was for the most part the Clevinger of old. , Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Monday at winter meetings. “We’re looking at a guy who, like other guys on our roster, has a little something to prove. (He) has experience in this league and performs in our division and performs at a high level.
“We are very optimistic about its rebound next year. He has a history with (pitching coach) Ethan (Katz) returning to the Angels organization, and Ethan has already had quite a bit of success in his two years with us helping guys transition to the higher level. And it wouldn’t shock me if a year from now we look back on Clevinger as another that he helped to reach that next level.
Hahn said, in broad strokes, that the pitching staff is complete.
“If this is the group we choose 13 at the end of spring, it’s a good group and we feel good,” he said. “At the end of the day, do we end up moving? That remains to be seen.”
Assessing the rest of the entries, Clevinger said, “These guys have some electric stuff.”
“It all starts with (Lance) Lynn,” Clevinger said. “He’s been there, done that, and I’ve only heard good things until (Michael) Kopech. So I’m excited to get into the mix, and even watching (Dylan) Cease, I I feel like I watched his whole career and it was almost like every time we watched him pitch, it was like waiting for this year to happen.
“His stuff was so elite, his stuff was so above and beyond so many guys, it seemed like when we were on the other side of the fence, we were waiting for him to click on it. And watch him l last year, amazing to watch. I want to probe his brain about his slider. I’m just thrilled to join this group of talented guys and great personalities.
With Clevinger joining the team, the question dominating winter meetings for the Sox is what’s next.
Hahn said the Sox had “a lot of conversations” and reiterated that they were more likely to add through trade than free agency.
“I don’t know if it will be here (at winter meetings),” Hahn said. “We certainly know we’ve had productive conversations, and it remains to be seen whether they will bear fruit in the next 48 hours or weeks.”
Later Monday, Marc Feinsand from MLB.com tweeted that Sox All-Star closer Liam Hendriks was mentioned in the trade talks. Feinsand noted that Hendriks has a limited no-trade clause.
The Sox have decisions to make at second base and outside corner spots. Generally speaking, Hahn said “compositional balance is important”.
“Not just from a strict left-right perspective, but production against left-handed and right-handed pitchers,” he said. “You don’t want to put in someone who was an underhand hitter just because they hit from the left side. It’s a manufacturing issue. »
After a disappointing 81-81 season in which they missed the playoffs, the Sox are “open-minded about everything” in terms of movement, Hahn said.
“A year ago we came out of a division championship,” he said, “widely predicted to win the division, so a blockbuster blockbuster roster change was probably a little less in order. This year we have to be open-minded considering how we played in 22.
“Does that mean it’s going to happen?” Not necessarily. But we have to be open-minded about something like that.