The San Diego Padres have lost starting pitcher Mike Clevinger for much of the 2021 season to Tommy John Surgery. A major loss for one of the SF Giants biggest roadblocks to the postseason.
In surprising news, the San Diego Padres announced that they had signed starting pitcher Mike Clevinger to a two-year extension, but that the right-hander would undergo Tommy John surgery on Tuesday. The news comes as a big hit to a Padres team that hopes to return to the postseason in 2021. It also could make it easier to see a path to contention for the SF Giants.
Even if Clevinger misses all of the 2021 season, which is likely, San Diego’s roster is still full of talent. With a strong farm system that includes one of the best pitching prospects in baseball (Mackenzie Gore), they are well-positioned to handle a loss like this. At the same time, Clevinger was set to be their two-starter heading next season, his loss obviously creates some uncertainty going forward.
Clevinger was drafted and developed in Cleveland, but after he and teammate Zach Plesac were caught breaking the organization’s COVID-19 protocols, both were demoted to the alternate site. While Plesac would eventually rejoin their big-league rotation, Clevinger was sent to San Diego with Greg Allen and a player to be named later in exchange for a five-player package, headlined by Josh Naylor and Gabriel Arias.
At this year’s trade deadline, the Padres were easily the most aggressive team in the league. Before it was all said and done, San Diego acquired 8 major-league players. None seemed more relevant to their long-term plans than Clevinger. With questions at the back of their rotation, San Diego added the best starter available with multiple seasons of control. Now, it appears the Padres may be back on the market for an additional starter in 2021.
In five MLB seasons, Clevinger has made 105 appearances (92 starts), completed 542.1 innings, struck out 603, and holds a career 3.17 ERA. His 142 ERA+ represents a performance 42% more effective than an average big-league pitcher over his career. Now San Diego will have to try and replace that caliber of production.
The SF Giants obviously have the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers between them in their quest for the postseason. While both teams have more talent on their roster’s right now, there’s a lot of time left this offseason and throughout next season. Following Mike Clevinger’s injury, San Diego is already down one of their best arms.