A less expensive option among San Diego’s plethora of rotation members would be Mike Clevinger. He’s only making $8M this season, and he’s a free agent at the end of the year, so the trade calculus is a bit different. But first, his performance.
Since the start of the 2017 season, Clevinger has a 2.95 ERA in 518-1/3 innings, with 584 whiffs and 188 free passes during that time. When he’s been healthy, he’s been excellent. But he missed all of 2021 due to Tommy John surgery, and he’s only been back on the mound seven times – including six starts – this season to show what he’s capable off.
Clevinger has been terrific in his 29 innings, putting up a 2.79 ERA, striking out 31 batters and walking just 10. But it’s only 29 frames, so expecting him to eat innings is highly questionable, and that’s something the Cardinals desperately need.
Maybe a piggyback arrangement with someone like Oviedo, in which Clevinger handles the first 4-5 innings and Oviedo takes the next 2-3, would allow both pitchers to succeed throughout the season.
With the lower price tag but shorter control, the Padres’ ask probably would be similar to their Snell request to make a deal. Maybe Zack Thompson would be too much to surrender, but the enticing ability of Clevinger could be enough for John Mozeliak to pull the trigger on such a deal.