Where there once was the Padres’ “Sunshine,” memories of tie-dye pitcher Mike Clevinger and rugby-like delivery gave way to ominous clouds.
The mother of Clevenger’s 10-month-old daughter was flattened Allegations of domestic violence and child abuse on her Instagram story Tuesday morning. Olivia Finstead has accused the former Padres starter of physically assaulting her and throwing chewing tobacco at her child. A Major League Baseball investigation has been launched into the accusations involving Clevinger, who signed a one-year deal with the White Sox.
Until a full body of facts emerges—though it rarely does so in a thorough and consistent manner within the isolated world of professional sports investigation—it is crucial not to over-inflate every claim tossed to the wind. It is crucial that something so serious is not ignored.
There is an issue with the schedule for Padres At first glance, though – at least from a PR perspective.
Finestead spoke to The Athletic, saying Clevinger choked here in June and slapped her in a hotel room while the Padres were on a road trip against the Dodgers two weeks later. She included photos purporting to show injuries related to violent clashes on Instagram.
What may concern fans and others trying to sort through what the Padres know and can do about it came to light when Finestead reported that she had been talking to MLB’s investigative department since the summer.
In short: The Padres should have known about the allegations and MLB involvement before Clevinger resorted to regular rest over the summer and fall.
It’s miles more complicated and complicated, of course.
There is an intertwining of protocols and processes woven through baseball’s collective bargaining agreement and the commissioner’s office. In the “Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Common Policy Terms” document, for example, a bullet point states that “a club may not discipline a player for a policy violation unless the commissioner has relinquished his disciplinary authority to the club.”
So no, the Padres were not allowed to act unilaterally. In the case of former Dodgers player Trevor Bauer, for example, the Dodgers and MLB have both placed the player accused of sexual assault and domestic violence on administrative leave. There was also an active criminal investigation underway by the Pasadena Police Department.
These situations can evolve. Evidence and information gathering follow varying timelines. Victims can change their mind about participation and the level of detail provided over time. Claims remain allegations until they become something more practical.
It’s unclear where the disturbing situation with Clevinger will lead, although the smoke level associated with someone willing to share their name publicly posts fair questions about an actual fire.
The Padres want to get on the right side of history with this one, in terms of what they heard, when they heard it and how they reacted. There is an obligation to share any information that appears to MLB. Maybe they dealt with everything by book. They may have found out about it from the league before they learned about it themselves.
It’s impossible to know for sure, since the team, when contacted by Union-Tribune, declined to comment beyond a statement acknowledging the investigation and added “We cannot comment further at this time.”
Were the allegations part of the reasoning soup to allow Clevinger to go into free agency, along with coughing five times in 2 2/3 innings against the Dodgers in the NLDS and failing to sign a walkout against the Phillies in the NLCS? Were there personal questions behind the scenes?
At the moment, we don’t know.
Although Clevinger became the White Sox to sort out the meaning attached to baseball, the Padres have to step back from the troubling player-centric details under their club roof at the time.
Riding the competitive tailwind, the Padres wanted the story heading into 2023 to revolve around the club shelling out boatloads of money to prove they plan to compete at any cost. They hope that in the spring questions will revolve around a torrent of insult unleashed by Manny Machado, Juan Soto and Xander Bogaerts.
Clevenger is left to answer for his actions. as it should.
For their part, the Padres remain limited in what they can say or what they can do at the moment without MLB’s direct, confident involvement. It’s hard to believe that baseball is anything but careful and inclusive after Bauer’s mayhem.
So, we – and the Padres – are waiting.