CLEVELAND — After striking out in free agency, the Cleveland Guardians locked up one of their own, agreeing to terms with closer Emmanuel Clase on a $20 million, five-year contract, according to multiple reports.
Clase’s deal is pending him passing a physical.
The deal includes club options for 2027 and 2028 worth $10 million each, reports say. It could be a few days before the deal is completed.
Clase missed all of 2020 after being suspended for performance-enhancing drugs. However, he thrived in his first year as Cleveland’s closer, recording 24 saves with a 1.29 ERA in 71 appearances as a rookie in 2021. Clase had 74 strikeouts in 69? innings.
The 24-year-old began last season sharing the closer’s job with James Karinchak before becoming one of the AL’s rising young pitching stars. Clase gives manager Terry Francona a dependable weapon at the back end of a bullpen that will need to have a big year to keep Cleveland competitive.
The Guardians have been criticized for their lack of spending during the offseason. They pursued some free agents but came up short and further alienated fans wanting them to do more after an 80-82 season.
The team has had talks this spring with All-Star third baseman Jose Ramirez about a possible long-term contract. He’s under team control through the 2023 season and is Cleveland’s highest paid player, making $12 million this season.
The Guardians acquired Clase from Texas in 2019 as part of a trade that sent former AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to the Rangers.
The Guardians’ deal with Clase was first reported by Univision.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: ESPN MLB