The hot stove kept boiling during the weekend, but this time with a pretty interesting trade. The Texas Rangers acquired Corey Kluber, along with his 2020 and 2021 salary. The Rangers have done an impressive starting-rotation remodel by acquiring Kyle Gibson, Jordan Lyles, and Kluber. The Indians pick up Delino DeShields Jr., who should be a pretty interesting fourth-outfield type, and the most interesting player in the deal, Emmanuel Clase.
Clase was signed by the San Diego Padres in 2015, but in his first two professional seasons, he had a 5.23 ERA. He had the stuff but never knew where it was going, so he was traded to the Rangers before the 2018 season. Since heading to the Rangers, Clase continued to throw gas but really improved his control. He also went from a fly-ball to a ground-ball pitcher.
The 21-year-old right-hander made his MLB debut this summer and really impressed. Clase throws two pitches: a cutter and a slider. However, this is not your ordinary cutter. It sits at 99 mph and has hit 101.8 mph. He typically throws the cutter in the zone (52.7%) with a 10.9% swinging-strike rate. With an O-swing of 40.2%, spin rate in the 90th percentile and that elite velocity, the cutter should be a Money Pitch in no time. His slider averages 90 mph but has hit 92.6 mph. While both of his offerings are worm-killers, Clase is able to induce 60% ground balls with the slider. In his 23.1 innings in Arlington, Clase has 21 strikeouts to go along with a 2.31 ERA with a 0.288 wOBA. His September was more impressive with a 0.87 ERA with 10 strikeouts and a 0.258 wOBA.
This might be a bit of a hot take, but I love what the Indians did here. Don’t get me wrong: I love Kluber. However, he is owed $18.5 and $18 million over the next two seasons and I am not sure if we will see the Kluber of old. The 33-year-old looked mortal before taking a pitch off the forearm that ended his season. Now, with Clase and James Karinchak, the Indians have a young, cost-controlled, fireball-throwing bullpen that no MLB team can match.
(Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire)