The Chicago Cubs are reportedly interested in trading for Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase, according to a report from 670 the Score's Bruce Levine.
Last season, the Cubs rolled with Adbert Alzolay in the final frame during the back half of the season as part of a revolving door of closers. The Cubs are not apt to give relievers big contracts, giving a reason as to why they don't yet have a permanent closer.
“The elite, elite closer, the leverage they pitch in can make a difference,” Hoyer said on Inside the Clubhouse on 670 the Score. "But the bullpen performances are the most volatile on the baseball field. We traded for (Aroldis) Chapman (in 2016) because we had inventory to do so and knew in the short-term he could make a difference. Same thing with Wade Davis and moving (Jorge Soler), whom we did not have a place for. The pen is a higher volatility and aggression area. So you want to put your dollars to use in the areas you are most certain about.”
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Luckily, when it comes to Clase, he's one of the most stable closers in the league. And they don't have to give him a massive deal.
Clase, 25, will make just under $3 million in 2024. He's under team control through 2028, with the final two seasons of his contract set at $10 million club options. He makes for an affordable choice to close games.
But he won't be cheap to acquire.
Clase is one of the league's top closers. He's led MLB in saves over the past two seasons, posting 86 saves in that time frame. Over 244 career games, Clase holds a blistering career 2.00 ERA and 0.965 WHIP. He's struck out 248 batters and walked just 36.
Clase's ERA ticked up to 3.22 this season. Although, he pitched the same number of innings he did in 2022 (72.7), led the league in saves and games finished and notched his second consecutive All-Star nod.
The Cubs could use some bullpen help. Last season, their bullpen staff finished with a 3.85 ERA, which is good for 13th in MLB. They had surges of elite play, but their pen was never a consistent, reliable measure of their team's makeup.
"It's a hard area when you see bullpen guys who have had multi-year contracts that have struggled and teams that have built the bullpens with sharp-targeted transactions," Hoyer told 670 the Score. "There are a lot of ways to skin the bullpen cat, but we do need to focus on it.
"It was an Achilles heel for us last year for sure."