Guardians reach contract extension with Emmanuel Clase, negotiating with Jose Ramirez

·3 min read
Cleveland relief pitcher Emmanuel Clase, right, celebrates with catcher Austin Hedges after the Indians defeated the Minnesota Twins 4-1 in a baseball game, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Cleveland relief pitcher Emmanuel Clase, right, celebrates with catcher Austin Hedges after the Indians defeated the Minnesota Twins 4-1 in a baseball game, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

The Guardians could have agreed to an extension with one long-term piece to the roster, and it's possible others could be following by Opening Day, though the clock is ticking.

The Guardians and closer Emmanuel Clase have agreed to a five-year, $20 million extension, as first reported by Univision. The deal covers Clase's pre-arbitration and arbitration years and includes club options for the 2027 and 2028 seasons. The deal includes a $2 million signing bonus, and each option year is valued at $10 million and can rise to $13 million with escalators, along with a $2 million buyout. The New York Post first reported the full details of the deal.

The deal offers Clase a chance to lock in guaranteed money now instead of witing two seasons to reach arbitration. For the Guardians, it adds a bit of risk to sign a younger player to a long-term deal but it means Clase's salary will likely be very affordable compared to market value later on. It also allows the Guardians to have Clase act as the team's closer without his arbitration salaries rising. A higher number saves leads to higher salaries during that process.

The deal eats up two seasons of Clase's potential free agency years.

Clase was acquired from Texas in exchange for Corey Kluber, who threw all of 18 pitches for the Rangers before being lost for the season with an injury.

Clase posted a 1.29 ERA with 74 strikeouts and 24 saves in 69 2/3 innings in 2021 en route to a fifth-place finish in American League Rookie of the Year voting.

2. Jose Ramirez, 3B, Guardians
2. Jose Ramirez, 3B, Guardians

Guardians, Jose Ramirez still far apart in negotiation talks: report

The Guardians are also in contract negotiations with star third baseman Jose Ramirez, according to a report by The Athletic.

Ramirez is set to make $12 million in 2022 and has a club option for the 2023 season. He's one of the few players on the Guardians active roster who isn't under club control through at least 2024 or 2025.

Ramirez has finished in the top six of American League MVP voting in four of the last five seasons and has done so on one of the most team-friendly deals in baseball when considering his talent level.

The Guardians, namely with the Francisco Lindor-Carlos Carrasco trade, have continually tried to extend this contention window out as far as possible. A Ramirez extension would better align with that window.

The Guardians have also trimmed their payroll by nearly $100 million over the last few seasons, all the while hoping the front office can overturn the roster enough to compete while also setting up the organization for the long run. Cutting the payroll by such a severe degree, combined with the Guardians ranking 29th out of 30 clubs in free agent spending this winter, has left plenty of room to extend players like Ramirez, Bieber and others. Bieber indicated this spring he'd be open to an extension. Bieber is under club control through 2024.

Though, the two sides are still far apart in negotiations, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has set a deadline of Opening Day, April 7, to get a deal done.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com. Read more about the Guardians at www.beaconjournal.com/sports/cleveland-guardians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Guardians in contract extension talks with Ramirez, Clase: Reports