Emmanuel Clase Rumors: Dodgers Could Emerge In Trade With Guardians

Although the focal point of the offseason thus far has largely been on starting pitchers available, the Cleveland Guardians could quickly change that if they were to move ahead with an Emmanuel Clase trade.

However, the Guardians don’t face much pressure to make such a decision considering Clase remains under team control for multiple seasons. In April 2022, the Guardians signed Clase to a five-year, $20 million contract extension.

Its total value could increase to $38 million over seven years if team options are exercised for 2027 and 2028.

Nevertheless, the Guardians were reported as being open to a potential Clase trade during the Winter Meetings in Nashville.

During an appearance on MLB Network Radio, The Athletic’s Jim Bowden identified the Los Angeles Dodgers as a team to watch for a possible Clase trade:

“I do think you’ll see them add bullpen depth. I don’t think you’re going to see them spend another $100 million, or whatever it’s going to take to get Hader. I don’t think that’s the case. But, I’ll give you a sleeper for the Dodgers. Don’t tell anyone, except for our million listeners. Don’t be surprised if they make a trade for Emmanuel Clase of Cleveland. They are in this thing to win at the highest level.”

Clase, 25, is coming off a season in which he went 3-9 with a career-best 44 saves in addition to a 3.22 ERA, 2.91 FIP and 1.16 WHIP over 75 games.

Clase converted 42 saves in 2022, and has led the American League in that category in each of the past two seasons. That’s coincided with back-to-back All-Star Game selections.

As part of his contract extension with the Guardians, Clase received a $2 million signing bonus and is due a $1 million bonus if traded at any point. He’s due to earn just a $2.5 million salary in 2024, but is line for increases to $4.5 million and $6 million in 2025 and 2026, respectively.

The team option on Clase’s contract for the 2027 season is valued at a base $10 million salary, and includes a $2 million buyout. The team option for 2028 is $10 million as well but is accompanied by a $1 million buyout.

Clase’s salaries for 2027 and 2028 could increase if he reaches a variety of performance bonuses, or finishes in the top three or wins a Reliever of the Year Award through 2026.

The Dodgers bullpen doesn’t necessarily appear to have any glaring needs and there is somewhat of a roster crunch within the group. However, they reportedly have interest in Josh Hader, and a trade for Clase would net them an All-Star closer on team-friendly terms while also allowing Evan Phillips to revert back to a fireman role.

Who could Dodgers trade for Emmanuel Clase?

The Dodgers farm system is flush with prospects to complete a high-profile trade. Acquiring Clase would likely require the Dodgers to part with some of their young pitchers and likely position players as well, due to the Guardians needing an infusion of talent for their lineup.

The likes of Dalton Rushing, Michael Busch, Emmet Sheehan, Miguel Vargas and James Outman could be players of interest to the Guardians in a Clase trade.

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