Mike ClevingerImage: AP
It should be said at the outset that it’s not clear the Chicago White Sox could have done too much before signing Mike Clevinger. It’s easy to say they should have known, and perhaps if a team really looked for reasons not to sign someone, they would have found MLB’s investigation into domestic violence allegations made against him by Olivia Finestead . (Clevinger’s attorney said in a statement that the pitcher “strongly denies” the allegations.) But a team that’s chasing a free-hand player isn’t really looking for reasons not to sign that player. It just depends on how far you take it.
But when MLB conducts these kinds of investigations, they probably don’t announce it to anyone or anyone, at least not with the cover story of not wanting to poison the investigation. Clevinger himself might not tell you, and certainly no one waved a huge red flag at the time he signed it. While it was odd how quickly it came together, no one said this was on the horizon.
Yes, Clevinger has proven to be a dingy before. He broke COVID protocols while in Cleveland in 2020 and his teammates essentially voted him off the island. Still, that’s a bit far from it. MLB should have attempted to subtly notify clubs, but without completing the investigation, the players’ union might not have looked kindly to the league breaking the news that would have prevented a member from signing a contract, before they had anything concrete with them.
It’s certainly worth asking if the investigation started this summer, and we’re at least four or five months beyond what exactly is taking so long and why Clevinger was available in the free agent market in the first place. What is the MLB waiting for? Did Finestead show you the same Instagram photos she shared on her story yesterday? These things, taking so long, have put one of his teams in an impossible position. Perhaps a rule that any player under investigation for domestic violence or sexual assault should be put on hold pending investigation, but that’s another matter to be negotiated with the union and might not be as easy is to say goodbye.
It’s doubly bad for the White Sox, and especially their fans, as the latter just had to endure Hall of Famer baseball player Tony La Russa being allowed to skate on DUI charges — he pleaded misdemeanor — because owner Jerry Reinsdorf was fair in that decided to have him as manager even though the Sox knew about the DUI before the public did. And now they’re stuck with it, no matter how long it takes the Sox Clevingers to dump in the next dumpster.
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Which you have to think they’re going to do as soon as possible, whenever that investigation is done. Should they do so before Clevinger is likely to still get his money, and while it’s almost certainly not morale that would prompt the Sox to get out of his contract, everyone probably agrees it would be better if Clevinger without being jettisoned the money would come to him.
But it’s still a terribly awkward sight, if we’ll be kind enough that this happens in the same off-season when not one, but two teams backed out of agreed contracts with Carlos Correa, believing a six or six could happen to his ankle seven or more years later, and yet Clevinger got a contract with it in his past. There’s an instinct that teams should exercise the same diligence that NFL teams do with draft picks, but any familiarity with domestic abusers would tell you how horrible that could get in a hurry when a former partner simply told a potential team from before Reported abuse and cost a player a contract. It’s not the best way either.
But MLB should figure something out with a player being actively investigated because everyone looks bad here. That is, if Rob Manfred ever cared what any of his teams looked like.
Meanwhile, on the other side of baseball, if Ronald Acuña Jr. did this on these banks, how many baseballs would be thrown at him at once on his next bat? 70? We’re just doing it wrong, man:
It’s an easy midweek in the footballing world but that doesn’t mean Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich couldn’t provide us with a true Thunderbastard. From the parking lot: