The San Diego Padres have announced a new two-year contract with ace Mike Clevinger. That's great, as the deal would buy out Clevinger's remaining arbitration years. The team's fanbase should be thrilled. Unfortunately, there was a second part of the tweet announcing the contract that completely pulled the rug out from the celebration.
Here's the tweet, see if you can spot the moment every heart in San Diego shattered:
Way to bury the lede guys. That's like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown. What the hell, Padres.
Clevinger was supposed to come in and be the ace that lifted the Padres into World Series contention. He was great in four appearances for San Diego late in the season after coming over from Cleveland at the trade deadline. The 29-year-old was 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA, a 0.89 WHIP and 19 strikeouts against three walks in 19 innings. The city also fell in love with his personality.
But Clevinger left his last start of the season with elbow discomfort and when he attempted to pitch against the Dodgers in the NLDS, he only lasted an inning. At the time the Padres believed it was nothing structural, they were apparently very wrong about that.
Clevinger's new deal will pay him $2 million in 2021 as he recovers, then he'll get $6.5 million in 2022, with a $3 million deferment bonus and performance bonuses.
This is an enormous hit to the Padres who are emerging as a power in the National League. The one area they were struggling to find consistency was in the starting rotation. Now Clevinger is out for 2021, while fellow ace Dinelson Lamet also entered the offseason injured. They'll almost certainly have to find a top-tier starter via trade or free agency.
Chris Paddack looked likely to be an ace heading into 2020, but had a down year. He'll have to get much better with Clevinger out. Additionally, top prospects MacKenzie Gore, Luis Patino and Adrian Morejon are likely to get shots at stepping into the starting rotation.