There's a non-zero chance Emmanuel Clase is traded this offseason, though the odds are likely much closer to zero than one hundred.
Still, the Cleveland Guardians are listening to offers on their closer and the Los Angeles Dodgers - intent on acquiring everyone of note, apparently - could potentially be interested in the All-Star closer.
If the Dodgers really want Clase, though, the Guardians should force them to do Cleveland a solid and take on Myles Straw's remaining contract.
Trading Myles Straw Helps the Guardians' Outfield Situation in So Many Ways
For starters, the Guardians wouldn't have to worry about Straw's bat anymore, which has become a gigantic liability the past two seasons. Over the past two years, Straw has been one of the least effective regular players in the game, hitting .229/.296/.284 with a 67 OPS+ in more than 1,110 plate appearances. No amount of defensive prowess can justify keeping that bat in the lineup every single day.
Most importantly, trading Straw would free the Guardians from Straw's deal, which pays him through at least 2026, with buyouts starting in 2027. Three more guaranteed seasons of Straw - making nearly $5 million in 2024, $6.4 million in 2025, and $7.4 million in 2026 - would be a tough pill to swallow, and there are very, very few teams that would be willing to take that on, even if Cleveland paid for some of it. The Dodgers are one of them, a contender that could always realistically use a valuable defense-first bench guy.
So yes, a Clase deal with the Dodgers can - and should - include Straw. There are a few other teams where this could make sense as well, but one figures Cleveland is going try everything it can to get out from under the contract. Eventually, the Guardians will probably just DFA him, but if no team takes him, the 2024 season will be Straw's last chance to turn things around - and it likely won't come with everyday playing time.
Straw has long been in the crosshairs of Guardians fans, but this is by no means us piling on just for the fun of it. From a baseball standpoint, it makes sense for Cleveland to get out of its contract with Straw, which in fairness looked like a no-brainer a couple years ago.
It's hard to watch a good player struggle the way Straw has at the plate; it's certainly not lost on him or the team. Even though he remains an elite center fielder, the Guardians need to do everything they can to open up at-bats to players with more offensive potential moving forward.
That now includes the recently acquired Estevan Florial, who figures to get plenty of playing time moving forward in the Guardians' ongoing quest to unearth hidden gems discarded by other teams.