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It took some time but the Indians clearly robbed the Rangers in the deal that sent Corey Kluber to Texas before the 2020 season.
The Cleveland Indians traded Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers following the 2019 season. Some Indians fans may have felt like this was the same story playing itself out again where a star was sent away because ownership saw him as too expensive.
The return, at the time, may have been a bit shocking. Kluber was headed to Texas in exchange for average outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. and young reliever Emmanuel Clase. But the front office saw Clase as the true centerpiece.
That faith has paid off in a big way as it is clear the Indians absolutely robbed the Rangers in this deal.
Patience paid off for Indians in the Corey Kluber deal
This deal seemed like a bust for both sides once Clase was suspended for all of 2020 because of PED use. However, the 23-year-old remained in the team’s long-term plans.
Clase has now emerged as a reliable late-game option in Cleveland who routinely sits at or over 100 miles per hour on the radar gun. He is throwing pitches that are nearly impossible to hit because of the speed and movement on the ball.
Meanwhile, Kluber pitched in one total inning for the Rangers in 2020 before leaving with a season-ending injury. He then signed with the New York Yankees this past offseason. So essentially the Rangers gave up a budding star reliever for one inning of Kluber during what ended up being a last-place season.
No one could have predicted what was to come in 2020 with COVID-19 and the shortened season. Regardless, the Rangers took on a former ace who had just missed most of the 2019 season with injuries. The Indians being so open to moving Kluber should have raised some alarms in the Texas organization.
The Rangers knew Clase could hit triple-digits on the radar gun and still moved him in order to land Kluber. They either believed they could keep Kluber long-term or truly thought they were World Series contenders in 2020.
Clase still has a long way to go before he is considered a star. The early results are still promising and the lost year due to a suspension was not as big of a deal considering Clase had not yet made his Cleveland debut and it also came during a shortened season.
This deal initially seemed like a lose-lose for both sides. Now Clase has made the Indians front office look like bandits.