Should the Chicago White Sox consider bringing back Mike Clevinger?

USA Today's Bob Nightengale is reporting that as an option.

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago White Sox could still use some arms in the starting rotation after the team traded ace Dylan Cease to the San Diego Padres.

As of right now, Erick Fedde is a candidate to be the Opening Day starter. Yes, he won the KBO's version of the Cy Young, but he failed so badly in the majors that he had to go to South Korea to salvage his career.

Now that Michael Kopech has been banished to the bullpen and never to return to the starting rotation again, the Sox are looking at a rotation that pitching guru Brian Bannister is going to have to work some miracles to get something decent out of it. That is who we will have to pin our hopes on if Michael Soroka is to return to his dominate 2019 form.

We will need Bannister to sprinkle some magic on Chris Flexen to pitch like he did in 2021 and develop Garrett Crochet into a starting pitcher. Then Bannister is going to have to turn Jared Shuster into a better backend rotation pitcher.

That is what the Sox are tentatively going to roll out this season. Good thing the organization improved the team's defense in the offseason because right now this is a rotation that is going to allow the ball to be in play a lot.

It also lacks depth. Ideally, prospects Nick Nastrini and recently acquired Drew Thorpe log a few more minor league innings and come up in July. If someone gets hurt early, they may be called upon sooner. You do have veteran Brad Keller in camp as a non-roster invitee. He is part of the massive former Kansas City Royals contingent the Sox have at spring training.

It is not hard to see why insiders are starting to drop veteran pitchers still on the free agent market being linked to the White Sox.

One name being discussed is bringing back Mike Clevinger.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale tweeted out that little nugget of news yesterday.

Bob is sort of the unofficial White Sox PR rep with his ties to the team, so you can bet this piece of news is real.

Clevinger was solid on the mound for the White Sox in 2023. In addition to that 3.77 ERA, he finished with a 2.2 fWAR. He got some luck to go his way as his FIP was 4.28 and injuries limited him to just 24 starts. Fangraphs projects he will have a 4.69 ERA, 4.76 FIP, and finish as a 1.0 fWAR player. Adding a one-WAR player seems to be what the Sox are doing these days.

Outside of his disastrous time in San Diego, he has been a solid pitcher. He has a career 3.45 ERA and 3.87 FIP.

Opponents hit .242 off of him in 2023 which was the highest average in his career outside of the three callup starts he made for Cleveland in 2016. Fangraphs has opponents projected to hit .255 off of him this season. The projections clearly indicate a decline, but that is given since Mike is 33.

He also comes with plenty of well-documented off-the-field issues. Last year he dominated the early part of spring training headlines when he was accused of domestic abuse by a former girlfriend and the mother of his daughter, whom he was also accused of being abusive towards. No charges were ever filed, and MLB did not suspend Clevinger. Still, it was a public relations nightmare for the organization especially since Clevinger was the team's biggest free-agent addition that year.

He also upset his teammates in Cleveland so much to the point he got demoted after he snuck out with fellow pitcher Zach Plesac which broke COVID-19 protocols during the 2020 season. The organization is trying to improve the clubhouse atmosphere.

Then again, there were no reported internal issues with Clevinger last year. Plus, he should come cheap by now after he declined his option with the Sox after the season. At the same time, he was waived after the trade deadline and no other team wanted him. Clearly, not many teams want him now. Hey, when has that stopped the White Sox?