The Corey Kluber trade remains a tough one to grade for Cleveland Indians fans.
That is not the case for Texas Rangers fans, who saw the former ace throw one single inning in 2020.
He is now with the New York Yankees and the Rangers are without a nice young prospect.
The return for the Indians was Delino DeShields and Emmanuel Clase.
The latter was the centerpiece, however, Indians fans are still waiting to see him play after he missed all of 2020 because of a PED suspension.
His play will determine whether this trade gets a high grade or is simply a total wash for both teams.
#Indians RHP Emmanuel Clase strikes out Joc Pederson on 99mph heat.
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) March 5, 2021
What Happened in 2020
Kluber was traded to Texas in the winter of 2019.
As mentioned above, he had an extremely forgettable tenure with the club.
He made one single start and got through one inning before tearing a muscle and missing the rest of the season.
This came after he only made seven starts for the Indians in 2019 because of injuries.
The risks were there and the Rangers came out with a big contract and one inning to show for it.
Things were not much better for the Indians’ return last year.
DeShields posted a 0.0 WAR in 37 games and was simply part of the outfield rotation.
He drove in a total of seven runs all season and was about as average as a player can be.
Now he is back with the Rangers on a minor league deal.
Then there is Clase.
The Indians raved about his potential, only for him to miss the year with a suspension.
But his play in 2021 will finally allow fans to properly grade this trade.
Clase’s 2021 Outlook
Triple digits on the radar gun from Emmanuel Clase. pic.twitter.com/j8T3hC8A5u
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) March 5, 2021
As of now Clase projects to pair with James Karinchak as the two late-game options for Terry Francona.
Nick Wittgren should also be in that mix as well.
Clase can hit 100 miles per hour with ease and was indeed a nice prospect to get in exchange for Kluber.
Now he can actually get the chance to prove the Rangers made a huge mistake.
There is no other way to grade this trade right now than saying it is incomplete.
DeShields was thrown in and probably ended up taking time away from younger players who could have used the experience in 2020.
But Clase was the prize and this can go down as one of the better trades of the past decade if he emerges as a true closer for the Indians.
Even before the injury, Kluber’s play was declining and the Indians were wise to move on when they did.
Seeing Clase emerge as a reliable reliever in 2021 would make his arrival well worth the wait.
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