Bryce Miller: What did Padres know, what could they have done related to Mike Clevinger allegations?

Bryce Miller, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Baseball

SAN DIEGO — Where there once was "Sunshine" for the Padres, recollections of tie-dyed, free-wheeling pitcher Mike Clevinger and a delivery resembling a rugby scrum gave way to ominous clouds.

The mother of Clevinger's 10-month-old daughter leveled allegations of domestic violence and child abuse on her Instagram story Tuesday morning. Olivia Finestead accused the former Padres starter of physically assaulting her and throwing chewing tobacco spit at their child. A Major League Baseball investigation into the accusations involving Clevinger, who signed a one-year deal this offseason with the White Sox, has begun.

Until a complete set of facts surface — though they too rarely do in a comprehensive and unflinching way inside the insulated world of pro sports investigations — it's critical not to over-amplify every allegation tossed into the wind. It's just as crucial that something so serious not be ignored.

There's the appearance of a timeline issue for the Padres at first blush, though — at least from a public-relations perspective.

Finestead spoke to The Athletic, saying that Clevinger choked her 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 purportedly showing injuries related to violent run-ins on Instagram.

What might concern fans and others trying to sift and sort what the Padres knew and could do about it sprung up when Finestead relayed that she had been talking to MLB's Department of Investigations since the summer.


In short: The Padres had to be aware of the existence of the allegations and MLB's involvement before Clevinger pitched on mostly regular rest through the summer and fall.

It's miles more complicated and complex, of course.

There's the tangle of protocols and processes woven through baseball's collective bargaining agreement and commissioner's office. In the document "Terms of Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy," for example, a bullet point outlines that "A Club may not discipline a player for a violation of the Policy unless the Commissioner defers his disciplinary authority to the Club."

So no, the Padres were not allowed to act unilaterally. In the case of former Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer, for instance, the Dodgers and MLB jointly placed the player accused of sexual assault and domestic violence on administrative leave. There also was an active criminal investigation underway by the Pasadena Police Department.


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