MLB Trade Rumors links Mike Clevinger to the Angels on a one-year $10 million dollar contract.
If you told me three or four years ago that the Angels would have a legitimate shot at signing Mike Clevinger I would've gone crazy. He was one of the more exciting young arms in the game who was well on his way to stardom.
In his first five seasons, Clevinger had a 3.19 ERA in 105 appearances (92 starts) while striking out 10.0 batters per nine.
During the 2020 season, Clevinger was traded from Cleveland to the Padres for a huge haul. That offseason, Clevinger underwent Tommy John surgery. That kept him out for all of the 2021 campaign and part of 2022 as well.
As cool as it would've been to see Clevinger return as the same guy he was before Tommy John, that didn't happen. Angels fan witnessed it with Noah Syndergaard, and Padres fans saw it with Mike Clevinger.
Clevinger threw pretty hard and had elite strikeout numbers before his injury. Since returning, he hasn't been the same guy. His fastball velocity dropped from 95.1 mph in 2020 to 93.6 in 2022. His velocity on all of his pitches dropped by around two MPH. When you average 95 with your fastball, losing two mph is a big deal.
Clevinger struck out 8.6/9 in 2020 and 10.0 in his career before Tommy John. He struck out 7.2/9 this past season. He allowed opponents to hit the ball harder than they ever have and gave up 1.6 HR/9, well above his career mark of 1.1/9.
In the postseason Clevinger looked like he didn't belong anywhere near the mound as he allowed five runs (four earned) in 2.2 innings against the Dodgers in the Division Series. He then allowed three runs and did not record an out in the Championship Series against the Phillies.
Some pitchers come back stronger in their second year back from Tommy John and I hope Clevinger does. However, he clearly is not the same pitcher he once was.
Two members of the staff have the Angels signing Clevinger while the other two have him going to either Colorado or Toronto.
The Angels need to sign a couple of starting pitchers this off-season. I don't hate the idea of signing him to a one-year deal but there're other pitchers I'd rather the Angels kick the tires on.