With opportunity to build a super-bullpen, the Blue Jays should call on newly-available Guardians closer

The Toronto Blue Jays have a chance to make their already strong bullpen even better in 2024, by pursuing two-time AL saves leader Emmanuel Clase.
Cleveland Guardians v Toronto Blue Jays
Cleveland Guardians v Toronto Blue Jays / Cole Burston/GettyImages

The Blue Jays had one of the best bullpens in baseball this past season. Among other things, they ranked eighth in the Majors in team ERA, fourth in WHIP and third in saves.

With the likes of Jordan Romano, Erik Swanson and Tim Mayza, the bullpen is expected to be similarly productive in 2024. However, any professional sports team worth its salt knows you should always look for opportunities to become even better.

With this in mind, the Blue Jays need to consider pursuing an All-Star closer who has reportedly just become available in Cleveland. As per ESPN's Jeff Passan, the Guardians are apparently open to dealing Emmanuel Clase.

Talented closer

If true, Clase certainly makes for an intriguing pitcher to inquire about. His talent and upside are clear to see, with his prime pitches being his heater and 99 mph cutter.

The 25-year-old has shown his clutch ability, by leading the Majors in saves each of the past two seasons. He also has Major League highs for games finished in 2022 and 2023, with him being selected to the All-Star Game both years.

Of course, this might lead some to ask why the Guardians are reportedly opening to moving Clase? One reason could be that for all his talent, he is also inconsistent, which at times includes issues with his command and location.

Not all good

In this respect, the former Texas Ranger had single season worsts in 2023, with a 3.22 ERA, 21.2 percent strikeout rate and 1.156 WHIP. Not terrible but not great either, especially considering his previous success in all three categories.

In addition, for all his ability to perform in the clutch, Clase also had a Major League and personal career high 12 blown saves this past season. As a final note, Passan made reference to a drop in his groundball rate.

Despite the negatives, these are still more than cancelled out by the positives and overall potential of Clase. And if the Blue Jays need any other reason to pursue the righty, consider his contract situation.

The Dominican Republic native is set to make $2.5 million next season, $4.5 million in 2025 and $6 million the following year. Helping make the deal even more appealing for the Blue Jays (and other teams), there are club options for $10 million in both 2027 and 2028.

Latest Shohei Ohtani reports suggest Blue Jays are finalists, Winter Meetings deal is unlikely. Latest Shohei Ohtani reports suggest Blue Jays are finalists, Winter Meetings deal is unlikely. dark. Next

Of course, there is the matter of what the Blue Jays would be prepared -- or able -- to offer in return for Clase. However, they owe it to themselves and their fans to at least pick up that phone, contact the Guardians and have a conversation.