The Cleveland Indians have traded Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers, receiving a package headlined by 21-year-old flamethrower Emmanuel Clase. The righty has oodles of potential, but how good does he have to be in order to justify the trade from the Indians’ point of view?
When Texas Rangers right-handed pitcher Emmanuel Clase induced a groundout off the bat of Yankees SS Didi Gregorious on September 29, 2019, he couldn’t have possibly known he had thrown his last pitch as a member of the Rangers. The 21-year-old righty from the Dominican Republic had impressed many in his first taste of the Major Leagues, compiling a 2.31 ERA and 8.1 K/9 over 23.1 innings. Even in Clase’s last appearance, the Rangers were already looking towards next season, entering an offseason where GM Jon Daniels would look to supplement a roster on the cusp of contention, with the likes of OF Joey Gallo, RHP Lance Lynn, and LHP Mike Minor already in tow.
Clase figured to be a part of that future, or so it seemed. Over the weekend, the Rangers dealt Clase, along with OF Delino DeShields, to the Cleveland Indians for two-time AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber.
In terms of building a winning club, the trade represents a contrasting strategy of the two teams – acquiring Kluber is very much a “win-now” move for the Rangers, whereas adding Clase and DeShields is an effort to maintain an inexpensive-yet-talented roster in Cleveland.
When a franchise deals the ace of their staff, typically, one would assume that the team is entering a rebuilding phase. In this case, however, that assumption would be false. The Indians fully plan on contending in 2020, hoping to return to the playoffs in an AL Central that houses the Minnesota Twins, who won 101 games last season, and a promising Chicago White Sox club.
DeShields, while serviceable, is by no means the centerpiece of the Indians’ return. That would be Clase, who clearly the Indians see as a player with extreme promise What exactly does the righty bring to the table, both in the immediate future and the long-term, and is he enough to warrant the Indians’ trading Kluber?