The Chicago White Sox need Mike Clevinger to pitch well again for one reason only

His trade value.
Chicago White Sox v Tampa Bay Rays
Chicago White Sox v Tampa Bay Rays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

The Chicago White Sox seem to be pretty much up and down over the last few weeks.

They swept the Tampa Bay Rays then were swept by the Minnesota Twins. They then ended up winning the series against the St. Louis Cardinals, but struggled against the Rays in their second go-around in Tampa. Although, they won the series finale and then took the first game against the Cleveland Guardians.

The White Sox are consistent at being inconsistent, that’s for sure.

In their first game against the Rays, the White Sox put last year’s best pitcher statistically, Mike Clevinger on the mound. He struggled mightily with his command and ball placement. He was pulled after two-plus innings and left White Sox fans sad and disappointed.

A big reason is how polarizing he is. The other reason is a portion thinks promising young pitchers like Nick Nastrini or Jonathan Cannon should be getting innings. Nothing is gained when Clevinger gets slaughtered out there. Experience is acquired if Cannon and Nastrini have a bad outing.

He wasn’t ready for that start on Monday night and contributed to the White Sox losing the game. That was Clevinger’s first game of the year and he should get better.

Sometimes, pitchers struggle in their first game of the season. Sometimes they do very well. Clevinger hasn’t pitched in a major league game since last year. He’s still getting used to things and will possibly struggle in his next start but he’s a professional.

He will get better and he will help the Sox get better as well. Clevinger is a solid pitcher and one that should have a spot in the Sox rotation going forward.

Fans will recall Clevinger’s previous exploits before joining the White Sox in 2023. He was investigated for accusations of domestic violence. There was a great amount of documentation and testimony provided by Clevinger’s accuser, but he was not charged nor was he suspended by MLB. He did agree to counseling. That past controversy has made his presence on the White Sox a divisive issue.

Another interesting fact is that every other team in the league passed on Clevinger twice in the last few months possibly because of salary and off-the-field concerns. He was put on waivers last August and wasn't claimed. He declined his option to become a free agent and wasn’t signed in the offseason by anyone until the White Sox came calling for his services.

There must be something that teams don’t appreciate about Clevinger that kept him unemployed all winter and early spring. He did cause problems for the Cleveland Guardians back in 2020 when he violated COVID-19 protocols.

The White Sox should consider moving Clevinger if he can overcome his hiccup from the other night and perform better to entice another team to come calling.

Clevinger is a decent enough pitcher and he proved that last year. In 2023, Clevinger ended up winning nine games with nine losses. He started 24 games and ended the season with an ERA of 3.77. His WHIP was 1.226. He did have a couple of health issues last year but didn’t miss much time and was easily the most consistent pitcher on a team with Dylan Cease on it.

A team looking for a middle-of-the-road starter might want to consider him if he can prove to be effective and that he has reformed his ways.

The White Sox have admitted they are looking to trade veterans and Clevinger is one of them. Being able to get him off the team while getting a prospect or two to help down the road has to be the main objective since the front office has made it clear he is on the team.

Consider Monday night a hiccup in the path toward getting things right as he has a track record of being successful and eventually being the best starting pitcher on the team.

The White Sox need all of their pitchers to shine especially Clevinger. If they can, this season will end up being a lot better than it looks right now especially if they can trade him to help rebuild this team.