The Padres announced that right-hander Mike Clevinger will undergo Tommy John surgery. He’ll miss the entire 2021 season as a result.
This is stunning news, though it won’t bring an end to Clevinger’s run with the Padres. The team announced that the two-year deal it was working on with Clevinger last week is now official, so he will remain with the organization for his final pair of seasons of club control. Clevinger will earn $11.5MM on the pact, Joel Sherman of the New York Post was among those to report. Unsurprisingly, it’s a backloaded agreement that will see Clevinger take home a $2MM salary in 2021 and $6.5MM in 2022, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network. He also received a $3MM signing bonus. Clevinger will earn $250K in incentives if he starts five games in ’22 and another $250K if he starts 10, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.
Now 29 years old, Clevinger has been one of the majors’ most effective starters since he broke out in Cleveland in 2017. But the Indians decided to part with Clevinger this past August when they sent him to the Padres in a mega-deal before the trade deadline. Clevinger then helped the Padres to their first playoff berth since 2006, throwing 19 innings of six-run ball with 9.0 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9, though he battled elbow issues in his brief debut with the club. He only threw one playoff inning, which came in a start against the Dodgers in the NLDS, before departing.
Little did the Padres know that Clevinger’s most recent outing on Oct. 6 would be his last until at least the start of the 2022 season. Until now, it seemed safe to assume Clevinger would rejoin Dinelson Lamet and Zach Davies near the top of the Padres’ rotation next year. In light of this news, though, it’s unclear how the Padres will fill out their starting five beyond Lamet, Davies and Chris Paddack. There are some in-house possibilities in MacKenzie Gore, Luis Patino, Adrian Morejon, Joey Lucchesi and Ryan Weathers. Otherwise, the Padres could turn to the free-agent market or look to acquire help via trade. Either way, losing Clevinger for all of next year looks like a devastating blow for the up-and-coming San Diego franchise.