HomeTeamsGuardiansEmmanuel Clase Continues His March Towards Franchise History

Emmanuel Clase Continues His March Towards Franchise History

Cleveland Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase has played three full seasons in Cleveland plus 24 games (23.1 innings) in 2024. In total, as of Monday afternoon, he has thrown 238.1 innings with a Guards uniform. Yet he has a lot of credentials to be considered one of the very best relievers in franchise history already, at 26 years old.

Clase has a career 1.86 ERA, and the number goes down to 1.81 when we consider his tenure with the Guardians. That ERA is the best in franchise history among pitchers with at least 230 frames, with Addie Joss (1.89, between 1902 and 1910) ranking second. Clase, of course, has done it in a much more competitive era, too, and has left no doubt about his ability to dominate thanks to a unique 100+ mph cutter.

As of Monday, the current Guards closer has 124 career saves, 123 of which have come in Cleveland. That already ranks him in the top five in franchise history, and he is about to tie the fourth-placed Chris Perez (124 saves between 2009 and 2013).

The third-ranked Doug Jones (129 saves) is also very close and could be a target in a couple of weeks, perhaps a bit more. Bob Wickman, who got 139 saves for Cleveland in the early 2000s, is second; and Cody Allen is the all-time leader with 149.

Since it’s still May, there is a chance Clase leapfrogs Allen before the end of the season. If he doesn’t and remains with the team in 2025, he will inevitably become the Guardians all-time leader in saves either at 26 or 27 years old.

Talk about an impressive achievement! Since the start of 2022, not only Clase leads all relievers with 99 saves, but the second-ranked closer over that span, Toronto Blue Jays’ Jordan Romano, has 20 fewer saves; 79 in total.

In an era in which closers are more volatile than ever before, Clase has given the Guardians unique stability in the role. The team can rest easy knowing that opposing lineups, in a tight game, will have essentially eight innings to score. Once Clase enters, you can virtually kiss your chances of a comeback goodbye.

Before the start of the 2024 campaign, there were rumblings suggesting the Guardians could entertain the possibility of trading Clase for a huge package. Given how young, good, and cheap he is (he signed an incredibly team-friendly five-year, $20 million deal before 2022 with two affordable options for a couple of additional seasons), it would take a true haul to lure him away from Cleveland.

Everybody talks about Jose Ramirez, Andres Gimenez, Shane Bieber and Josh Naylor when trying to identify the most important Guardian of the last couple of years, and for good reason: all those players are amazing. Clase, however, is constantly overlooked, which is odd considering he is historically good and relevant to the franchise.

Clase is truly a one-of-a-kind reliever, and might already be the best in franchise history.


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