The 3 Most underpaid players on the Cleveland Guardians

The Cleveland Guardians have some bargain players on the books.

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Emmanuel Clase, RP

Emmanuel Clase was recently extended to a 5-year, $20 million contract, commanding only $2.9 million this year and $4.9 million next year. Right away, that sounds like a fair price for one of baseball's elite closers. I know some fans consider there to be a glaringly obvious asterisk next to his title of ‘elite closer,’ as he has had some really ugly innings and blown some very important saves over the past few seasons, but when you look closer into his advanced number, you will see that for his price tag, he provides tremendous value. 

Not putting too much weight on the games Clase didn't save, since every closer inevitably blows some games, he sure has gotten the job done many times. Since becoming the Guardian's primary closer in 2021, he has saved 110 games, which is the most in baseball. He has also led all qualified relievers in baseball since then in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) with a 6.2. The next closest is Devin Williams, with a 5.4. 

Something else worth noting about Clase: His career K/9 since becoming a closer is 9, which is significantly lower than other closers of his status. Strikeouts are very important, but something else to consider while looking at closer's statistics is their ground ball rate. This is important because ground balls are the most converted balls in play that are turned into outs and they induce the possibility of double plays. Clase’s GB% is 61.8, which is the highest of all closers and seventh among all relief pitchers. 

Cleveland ranks 10th in the percentage of 2024 payroll spent on relief pitchers. One of the key ways they can consistently have such a good bullpen without spending more money on relievers is because of Emmanuel Clase.