One could argue that the most important player on a baseball team is the designated hitter who is going to blast 40 bombs and 100 RBIs during the year. Or, the shortstop that will not let a ball get past him. Maybe even that starting pitcher even if he’s out there once a week.
However, the bullpen and specifically the closer are so crucial for a team’s success. It was extremely clear with the Cleveland Guardians this season. Closer Emmanuel Clase is the 2022 Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year! The closer, for those too busy worrying about the Browns to care about the Guardians at all is the…
“Relief pitcher who specializes in getting the final outs in a close game when his team is leading.”
In 2022, Clase, age 24, went 3-4 with a 1.36 ERA in 77 appearances and 72.2 total innings pitched on the year. This included 42 saves in 46 opportunities. That’s a 91.3% outlook – amazing!
Now, Liam Hendriks won the award but for different teams, Aroldis Chapman, Edwin Diaz, Craig Kimbrel, Zack Britton, Andrew Miller (remember him?) and Greg Holland are also past winners. Those are not some closers a team would want to face down in a game with just three outs to go…
“In 2022, Clase signed a 5-year / $20,000,000 contract with the Cleveland Guardians, including a $2,000,000 signing bonus. That $20,000,000 is guaranteed and an annual average salary of $4,000,000. In 2023, Clase will earn a base salary of $1,500,000, while carrying a total salary of $1,900,000.”
The Guardians keep him through 2026 with club options in 2027 and 2028. Thus, he won’t be a free agent until 2029. We will be seeing a lot more closing in the coming years!
Yeah, it’s only three outs at the end of the game that need to be made. It doesn’t seem like a big deal until the team is up two runs in the 9th and the opposition blasts a three-run bomb to win it. That simple example is why a closer such as Clase is so important and crucial to have someone like him in the pen.
The Guardians, as a whole, had a very exciting season that ended in a loss to the New York Yankees in the playoffs. However, the future looks extremely bright for this organization and Clase is one piece that certainly adds to the fact.
Here’s an idea: How about the offense score so many runs this upcoming year that Clase’s services are needed very minimally?
Congratulations, Emmanuel. Best of luck moving forward! Certainly, this is a very exciting time to be a Guardians fan. Clase adds to that for sure!