The biggest move off the 2020 deadline was the Padres' acquisition of Mike Clevinger from Cleveland in a massive nine-player deal at the deadline. Unfortunately for San Diego, Clevinger was limited to just four regular season appearances and was only able to make one postseason start against the Dodgers because of an elbow injury.
We won’t see Clevinger at all in 2021.
On the same day that he signed a two-year, $11.5 million contract, it was also announced that Clevinger will miss the 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. This will be the second time that the right-hander the operation, as he had the same procedure while a member of the Angels’ organization.
The fantasy implications here are relatively obvious -- at least in terms of Clevinger’s value for 2021 in redraft leagues: there isn’t any. What’s (potentially) less obvious is the other ramifications. The Padres have some very intriguing young depth in their rotation, and barring a trade, Dinelson Lamet, Zach Davies and Chris Paddack are locks to open the year in that role. That leaves two potential open spots, however, with Clevinger out for the year and Garrett Richards a free agent. That leaves opportunities for young hurlers like Adrian Morejon, but also top prospects like MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patino. Gore is arguably the top pitching prospect in the game, and Patino isn’t all that far behind. It’s certainly possible the Padres will be in the market for another starter on the trade or free agent market -- they might have been even without the Clevinger news -- but it’s much easier to see Gore making a larger impact in 2021 now.
The other question, of course, is what this means for Clevinger in the long-term. The right-hander will turn 30 in December, so the next time we’ll see him throw a competitive pitch will be as a 31-year-old, most likely. When healthy, he has some of the best stuff in the game; and the evidence comes in his 3.19 career ERA with a K/9 of 10.0 in 542 1/3 innings. The issue is durability, and this won’t do it any favors. Clevinger has thrown over 126 innings once, and that’s a troubling figure for a pitcher who is on the wrong side of 30 and coming off his second major procedure. The upside is palpable, but there’s just as much risk as there is reward going forward.
Smyly signs one-year, $11 million deal with Braves
The Braves were among the first to strike in free agency in 2019, and they’ve made an early move for the 2021 campaign as well.
On Monday, the Braves announced that they had agreed to a one-year, $11 million deal with left-hander Drew Smyly. Smyly spent the 2020 season with the Giants, and he registered a 3.42 ERA in seven games -- five starts -- over 26 1/3 innings. A solid number, but the metrics suggest the 31-year-old was even better than that. He struck out a whopping 42 hitters in that frame against nine walks, and he finished the year with a Fielding Independent Pitching number of 2.01.
The question with Smyly is the same as Clevinger; can he stay healthy? We haven’t seen him throw more than 150 innings since 2016, and he missed all of 2017-2018 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. That being said, there are things to like here. He’s going to pitch behind one of the best lineups in baseball -- with or without Marcell Ozuna returning -- and his stuff seemed to reach another level this year; posting vastly improved spin rates on his fastball and curve.
The Braves might be creative in how they use Smyly in 2021 to ensure health down the stretch, but his ability to miss bats will give him some fantasy appeal this summer.
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Marlins hire Ng as first female GM in MLB history
Miami filled their general manager position on Friday, and they did it by making history. Miami hired Kim Ng in the role, and she became the first woman GM not only in MLB history, but the first of a North American professional men’s sports team. Before taking this job, Ng has worked for the White Sox, Yankees and Dodgers -- she was a finalist for the Los Angeles job back in 2005 -- and she was MLB's senior vice president of baseball operations for the past nine years. In addition to interviewing for the position with Los Angeles, the 51-year-old was a finalist for several other openings, but she will get her first opportunity to run a club starting in 2021. It’s about time.
Brewers ‘intend to listen’ on Hader offers
On Monday, Robert Murray of Fansided reported that the Brewers intend to listen to offers on left-handed reliever Josh Hader. Hader, 26, has been one of the best relievers in baseball over the past few seasons, and that is probably an understatement. While he posted a career-high 3.79 ERA last season, half of the runs he allowed came in one outing, and he’s still missing bats with the best of them with a career K/9 of 15.3. Hader also is becoming more expensive, however, and he’ll be paid a raise on the $4.4 million he made in 2020 in his second year of arbitration eligibility. The Brewers will likely need a substantial return in terms of prospects, but it wouldn’t be a shock if Hader was in another uniform this spring. Wherever he goes, the fantasy appeal is obvious, and Williams would see his stock jump up a not insignificant amount as the presumed closer for the Brew Crew in 2021.
Quick Hits: Luke Voit said he doesn't expect his plantar fasciitis to be an issue in 2021 … Peter Gammons of MLB.com has been told by Astros sources that Jackie Bradley "is a priority" for them this offseason … Giants outfield prospect Alexander Canario recently underwent surgery to repair a torn left labrum .. Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that Tommy Kahnle is considering "multiple" two-year offers. Kahne will miss the 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in early August. Mark Buehrle is among the additions to the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot for 2021. He's one of 11 new names on the ballot, which also includes (in alphabetical order) A.J. Burnett, Michael Cuddyer, Dan Haren, LaTroy Hawkins, Tim Hudson, Torii Hunter, Aramis Ramírez, Nick Swisher, Shane Victorino and Barry Zito … According to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, the Mets are among the teams showing interest in free agent slugger Marcell Ozuna … Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times believes that Kevin Kiermaier is a candidate to be traded this offseason. Topkin cites the financial impact of the pandemic-delayed 2020 season as well as the uncertainty heading into 2021 as to why the Rays may be looking to shed payroll his winter ... Buster Olney of ESPN reports that four teams are showing early interest in free agent right-hander Jake Odorizzi. Those four clubs: The Blue Jays, the Giants, the Mets and the Twins … Orioles acquired RHP Miguel Padilla from the Astros to complete the Hector Velazquez trade ... Rays right-handed pitching prospect Nick Bitsko "is likely to soon have surgery to relieve shoulder discomfort," according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times … Athletics signed RHP Zac Reininger to a minor league contract ... According to Robert Murray of FanSided, free agent right-hander Chase Anderson is drawing interest from "several teams."