Thursday, April 18, 2024

White Sox GM Chris Getz Faces Backlash Over Mike Clevinger Signing

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When White Sox general manager Chris Getz appeared on an episode of “Foul Territory” he told former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski that he needed to earn the fans’ trust back. 

When asked why fans should watch the 2024 White Sox, Getz proceeded to list off the top three starting pitchers in the rotation, Garrett Crochet, Michael Soroka, and Erick Fedde. He described how player is in a different stage of their career but hungry to prove they belong. Getz also talked about the difficulty of luring in free agents, how the White Sox defense needed to improve, and how Pedro Grifol and him were committed to changing the culture. 

After watching the Rick Hahn and Kenny Williams regime operate for over a decade, it is easy to be skeptical of Getz. After all, he worked right alongside them as the assistant general manager last season. But for the most part, White Sox fans have given Getz the benefit of the doubt. 

Despite not signing any big names it was easy to see and understand what Getz was trying to do this offseason. Target players who could play good defense and veterans who could help establish a winning culture while holding down the fort until some of the organization’s highly touted prospects were ready for the big leagues. I didn’t agree with all of the moves Getz made this offseason, but for the most part, I understood why he did them. 

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That was until Monday afternoon when FanSided’s Robert Murray reported that the White Sox had agreed to a one-year contract with Mike Clevinger worth $3 million with an additional $3 million in incentives available. There are so many questions surrounding this move. 

Clevinger was indeed the best-starting pitcher on a 101-loss White Sox team last season. He posted a 3.77 ERA with a 3.3 bWAR with a 118 ERA+, yet nobody wanted him when the White Sox dangled him at the trade deadline. They then placed him on waivers last fall but no teams were interested. As the offseason rolled along, Clevinger once again had no suitors in free agency. Not until the White Sox came knocking on his door four games into the regular season.

Instead of building further trust, the signing alienates a large portion of the fan base. A fan base who is not quick to forget the domestic abuse allegations levied against him, which included physical, verbal, and emotional abuse of the mother of his 10-year-old daughter, as well as child abuse. 

Clevinger was not punished for the allegations after a league investigation on the basis that he would enter therapy. However, even former general manager Rick Hahn acknowledged before the allegations dropped that signing Clevinger was a “calculated risk.”  He had a reputation of immaturity dating back to his days in Cleveland. 

To Clevinger’s credit, he did compete hard every time he was on the mound, something that White Sox manager Pedro Grifol appreciated. This is likely due to the fact he couldn’t get many of the other veterans to play hard for him. According to NBC Sports Chicago’s Chuck Garfien, Dylan Cease had also said that Clevinger was a good teammate that he enjoyed working with last season. 

However, given some of the red flags and reputation that surround Clevinger, bringing him back into the fold is a gamble for a team that insists they are trying to correct the culture. In one fell swoop, Getz has lost the benefit of the doubt from many of the fans he was hoping to build trust with. Is adding Mike Clevinger worth the negative attention for a team who already struggling to draw fans? Even from a baseball standpoint, the move is a head-scratcher. 

The White Sox are on track to lose 90-plus games, with or without Clevinger in the rotation. Unlike Martin Maldonado and Paul DeJong who are placeholders for prospects, Clevinger will presumably be blocking a spot in the rotation for one of the White Sox young arms. Nick Nastrini was expected to be the team’s fifth starter once he was called up. Once Clevinger joins the rotation who becomes the odd man out?  

An argument could be that Clevinger was added to eat innings, something the White Sox will need since Garrett Crochet will likely be on an innings limit. But the White Sox already have veterans who can eat innings such as Touki Toussaint. The timing of the move also seems strange. If the White Sox thought they needed an additional starter why did they wait until after the season had started to sign him? But as the old saying goes one man’s trash is another man’s starting pitcher and for a second straight season, White Sox fans will have to stomach Mike Clevinger pitching for their favorite team.

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Tcloud
Tcloud
Apr 3, 2024 9:32 am

Allegations- used three times in two paragraphs of this column. Loosely defined as claims made without proof. As it is in this instance, with MLB which takes these things seriously and law enforcement both investigating and finding no substance to the claims. When Mitch implies MLB imposed no punishment if MC entered therapy, rather than the lack of evidence, then adds in his immature reputation (not a crime nor uncommon in MLB), tied up with a quote that Rick Hahn said signing MC was a “calculated risk” all adds up to a hit piece if not a smear. Note that… Read more »

Smoky Burgess
Smoky Burgess
Apr 3, 2024 7:48 am

I watched the games on mute last year, but I watched closely and no starting pitcher worked harder than Clevinger – he earned it.

ElwoodNotJake
ElwoodNotJake
Apr 3, 2024 7:18 am

To the White Sox donks, Crazy Jerry wants out, and he’s not spending CASH $$$ on anyone!! Getz was a mistake, just look at his Minor League Player Development! Right, there is NONE!!!!

TGenaIsAMoron
TGenaIsAMoron
Apr 3, 2024 2:18 am

Do they hire anyone who doesn’t write a dumb article anymore? I like this move adds another proven arm to the rotation. The only thing Clevinger is guilty off is making money and having a bitter baby mama but yea let’s continue the smear campaign with a bs article based on Kaminsky speculating he knows what happened without having a single clue baseball investigated and found nothing quit writing garbage articles

Horseracer124
Horseracer124
Apr 2, 2024 11:10 pm

Just another character assassination victim. If the allegations would have been true, he wouldn’t be in the league. He’s a proven asset on a team, and i’m more than happy with this move. FFS, besides, we need all the help we can get. Welcome back to the SouthSide Mike.

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