2. Mike Clevinger
Call me crazy, but I would rather see the Dodgers sign Mike Clevinger to a one- or two-year prove-it deal rather than a 40-year-old Verlander to a three-year deal worth over $100 million.
After all, it seems like the Dodgers are gearing up to make a run at Shohei Ohtani next winter and Verlander would keep them from doing that. Signing Clevinger to a two-year, $20-25 million contract with a player option in the second season is not going to stop that from happening.
Clevinger was not great for the Padres last season and was the only reason why the Dodgers won a game in the NLDS against San Diego. While that poor performance and his injury history might be a turn-off, there’s a high upside with Clevinger that’s impossible to ignore.
The Padres are one of the worst teams in the league at handling pitchers, their workloads, and their injuries (remember when Dinelson Lamet was a top pitcher in the league?). The Dodgers are one of the best at maximizing pitchers and, if any team can get Clevinger back to his old self, it’s LA.
The Dodgers were listed as an original team that was interested in Clevinger back in 2019 alongside the Padres. That existing interest might be enough for the Dodgers to take a chance on someone who will only be 32 in December and has relatively low mileage on his arm.
In 2019, Clevinger ranked in the top 5% in average exit velocity, top 6% in K%, and top 10% in xWOBA and xERA. If it works out then, the Dodgers would have another All-Star on their hands. If not, it’s a relatively cheap signing that doesn’t hinder the team moving forward.