Cleveland Guardians’ All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase on trade block: 4 ideal landing spots


There’s no question that All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase is one of the best relief pitchers in baseball. He’s led MLB in saves each of the past two seasons. Despite Clase’s individual success, the Cleveland Guardians haven’t been able to capitalize on their closer’s excellence and ended up missing the playoffs this past season.

While Clase led baseball in saves, he also had a few concerning stats that may lead to the Guardians seeing what their All-Star closer is worth on the trade block. For example, Clase also had more blown saves than any other pitcher in 2023, and his 3.22 ERA was actually the worst of his career. In other words, while Clase can be incredible, there are also times when his inconsistency has cost Cleveland a win too.

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In turn, the Guardians are reportedly “open to” trading Clase this offseason, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Clase, 25, is under team control through 2028, which should also greatly appeal to organizations seeking a bullpen upgrade without breaking the bank for the next five seasons. However, any trade for the hard-throwing right-handed pitcher won’t come cheaply.

So, which teams could end up paying the price for Clase via trade this offseason? Here are just a few who come to mind.

Philadelphia Phillies turn to All-Star for bullpen help

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

In 2022, the Philadelphia Phillies reached the World Series, but their pitching fell apart at the most crucial moments. Then, in 2023, the Phillies felt they could get right back to baseball’s biggest stage, but once again fell short, this time in the NLCS instead.

Heading into the offseason, the Phillies still feel strongly about their chances to win deep into October, yet improving their pitching staff is a clear need. Aaron Nola was brought back, but now the Phillies can focus on adding to this roster.

Free agents like Josh Hader and Jordan Hicks are still available, but there’s a sense Dave Dombrowski isn’t eager to pay top dollar for the best pitchers on the open market. That’s why the Phillies could make more sense as a trade partner, considering Clase has a very reasonable contract, earning a base salary of $2.5 million in 2024. If the Phillies have the right pieces to make a trade work, Clase would be a massive improvement to a bullpen that no longer has Craig Kimbrel in the mix.

Related: Top MLB free agents 2024: Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto headlines 2023-’24 MLB free agency rankings

St. Louis Cardinals add more pitching

The St. Louis Cardinals began their offseason prioritizing a need to stabilize their pitching staff. We’ve since seen three starters added, but now it’s time to bolster the bullpen. Between Ryan Helsley and Giovanny Gallegos, the Cardinals like the core of their bullpen, but adding another high-leverage arm never hurts, and Clase is one of the best available.

Emmanuel Clase stats 2023: 44 saves (12 blown), 3.22 ERA, 1.156 WHIP, 2.91 FIP

Clase has plenty of experience in end-of-game situations from operating as Cleveland’s closer the past three seasons, and he’d immediately boost the ‘pen in St. Louis too. If there’s one thing teams have learned the hard way, it’s that you can never have enough pitching, and that seems to be the motto the Cardinals are suddenly living by too.

Texas Rangers reunite with an old friend

When you win the World Series, you usually don’t have a lot of pressing needs. That may or may not be true for the Texas Rangers, yet all teams have areas they can improve. For the Rangers, it’s their bullpen which lacks a true closer.

Clase has been in Texas before, back in 2019, when he had an ERA of just 2.31 across 23.1 innings. Yet, Clase was dealt to Cleveland along with Delino DeShields for Corey Kluber, who pitched just one inning for the Rangers. Meanwhile, Clase has since become one of the best pitchers in the American League.

With the Rangers on the hunt for a hard-throwing reliever with nasty stuff, the possibility of bringing Clase back to Texas shouldn’t be overlooked.

Chicago Cubs fix bullpen with Emmanuel Clase

emmanuel clase
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs, like many teams, have a need to add to their bullpen this offseason. Sure, they could get into a bidding war for the likes of Josh Hader or some of the other top free agent relievers, but many teams shy away from offering large dollar amounts across multiple years to veteran arms out of the bullpen.

That’s where Clase could become an intriguing option for Cubs president Jed Hoyer. Chicago has been linked to potential trades for several big names this offseason, indicating that this front office is eager to return to the postseason. With six Cubs listed in’s top 100 prospects list, Chicago would appear to have plenty of ammo to get a trade for Clase done.

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