When the Indians traded former ace Corey Kluber this past winter a lot of people raised their eyebrows. In response, a other people said that, actually, Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber lead the pitching staff now, and Kluber was expendable.
Guess Bieber is going to have a bit more weight on his shoulders in the early going this year, because the Indians announced this morning that Clevinger is out with knee surgery. He’ll have an operation today to repair a partial tear in the meniscus of his left knee.
The club has not yet put a timetable on his return, but it’s worth noting that Phillies starter Jake Arrieta had meniscus surgery in late January/early February and was ready to go the first week of the season. If Clevinger follows that path, he shouldn’t miss too much time. Craig Kimbrel missed seven weeks after meniscus surgery in 2016. All of which is to say, it’s not super clear how bad this is.
Clevinger was limited to 21 starts and 126 innings of work last season due to back and ankle problems, but he registered a 2.71 ERA and 12.1 K/9 when healthy, making him an ace. An ace the Indians really need to get back soon if they intend to compete with the Twins and White Sox in the AL Central this season.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.