The White Sox have placed started Mike Clevinger on waivers, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. This is one of several moves today as players with notable salaries are being placed on waivers by clubs out of contention, trying to dump some salary by having a contending club put in a claim.
Clevinger, 32, is playing the season on a one-year, $12MM contract, though the structure of the deal leaves a decent chunk yet to be paid out. The veteran righty is earning an $8MM salary, with about $1.42MM of that yet to be paid out, but is also owed a $4MM buyout on a $12MM mutual option for the 2024 campaign. As such, there’s about $5.42MM in total guarantees remaining for any club that places a claim.
Steep as that price may be for a month of work (and potentially more during the playoffs), Clevinger would be an upgrade to the pitching staff of most contending clubs. He’s made 18 starts for the White Sox this season, tallying 97 2/3 innings of 3.32 ERA ball along the way. Clevinger’s 20.8% strikeout rate is down nearly seven percentage points from its peak, and he’s walked 9.3% of his opponents this year — right in line with his career mark.
Clevinger missed about six weeks of the summer due to inflammation in his right biceps but has done his best work of the season since being activated. In six post-IL starts, the right-hander has notched a 2.31 earned run average and 3.39 FIP while fanning opponents at a 23.7% clip against an 8.3% walk rate. Clevinger’s most recent outing saw him punch out 10 A’s hitters across seven one-run frames, and he also blanked the Cubs while posting seven strikeouts over seven innings back on Aug. 16.
The White Sox didn’t move Clevinger as part of their deadline sell-off, presumably because he only returned from the injured list just three days before the deadline itself. Given the injury uncertainty, a less-impressive pre-IL performance and the amount of money remaining on his contract, other teams were surely wary of giving up much of anything to acquire him in a trade. Today’s placement on waivers gives the South Siders the opportunity to at least shed some of the money he’s owed.
If Clevinger goes unclaimed, the Sox could still let him go in order to try to latch on with a contender between the expiration of his waiver period and the Aug. 31, 11:59pm ET deadline for postseason eligibility. In that scenario, the new team would only owe him the prorated league minimum, which would be subtracted from the Sox’ obligation to Clevinger.
Clevinger is essentially a rental player — mutual options are almost never exercised by both parties — and he’ll now be made available to all 29 other clubs, in order of reverse standings. Unlike the now-defunct revocable August trade waivers, outright waivers are not league-specific. (MLBTR has confirmed this with league sources on multiple occasions.) Waiver priority on Clevinger and all other veteran players who were waived today will be based on a worst-to-first basis, beginning with the A’s and ending with the Braves.