The Cleveland Guardians are looking for offensive upgrades to fill out their lineup.
That’s not a secret: they were last in home runs last season and, to take the next step, they need a competitive offense to complement their excellent pitching.
They do have a couple of building blocks in the lineup, such as Jose Ramirez, the Naylor brothers, and Andres Gimenez.
They need more, though.
They are open (and expected) to trade starting pitcher Shane Bieber because they have the depth to absorb that blow.
However, a recent report via MLB Trade Rumors suggests that they are also willing to move a crucial bullpen piece: Emmanuel Clase.
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) December 1, 2023
Clase has been one of the very best relievers in the American League in the past three seasons, and posted a 3.22 ERA in 2023.
That number was 1.36 in 2022 and 1.29 in 2021, which is mind-blowing
Since the start of the 2021 campaign, Clase has 110 saves: simply put, there are very few pitchers you would prefer handling a high-leverage situation at the moment.
Clase is excellent, young (25 years old), and cheap.
Around the start of the 2022 campaign, he signed a five-year, $20 million extension through 2026, with a couple of $10 million options for 2027 and 2028.
For a reliever of his caliber, that’s dirt cheap.
All those things make him very, very valuable to MLB teams.
One has to think that the Guardians won’t trade him unless they get at least a premium bat in return given the circumstances.
We will have to wait to see how the situation unfolds.
Perhaps he isn’t moved at all and the team is just gauging how the league views him.