The Chicago Cubs bullpen will probably be fine and maybe even be really good in 2024. However, I want more certainty. I want one more important move to actually feel good about this group from the very beginning of the regular season. Kenley Jansen, who I’ve recently written about, is a good option in the trade market, but there haven’t really been strong links between him and the Cubs this winter. One guy the Cubs have been interested in is Cleveland Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase.
That being said, as cheap as Clase comes with his extremely team-friendly deal, and a guy who has been fantastic as a closer, I’ve been very much pushing back on any trade proposal that includes a few guys I consider will be or already are contributing to the Cubs in the big leagues. So, when I saw this article on Tuesday, I could not believe my eyes.
Via Bleacher Report.
Trade Proposal: Chicago Cubs get RHP Emmanuel Clase; Cleveland Guardians get INF/OF Christopher Morel, OF Owen Caissie (No. 6 Chicago prospect, MLB No. 70 prospect)
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That was one of seven trade proposals written by Zachary D. Rymer.
I cannot stress enough that Christopher Morel under no circumstance should be traded for a closer right now. I know it’s frustrating that it seems as though the Cubs don’t believe in Morel at third base and hey maybe they’re right, but Morel just hit 26 home runs in 107 games in his age-24 season. His 119 wRC+ was the third-best mark on the team in 2023.
By the way, everyone always points to Clase’s contract being a major point of value, as the right-handed pitcher will earn $2.5 million in 2024, $4.5 million in 2025, $6 million in 2026 and $10 million team options for 2027 and 2028, respectively that also have $2 million buyouts attached to them. Yes, no doubt, good value. But Morel is still making the league minimum and isn’t even arbitration eligible until after the 2025 season. That’s pretty good value for a guy that hammers the ball.
Actually give Morel a full-season’s worth of plate appearances and you’re talking 40 home run potential. Who else on the Cubs roster can do that in 2024? We know damn well that we don’t want to see Patrick Wisdom every day.
And then that trade proposal includes Owen Caissie too?!?! C’mon. Everyone outside of Keith Law views Caissie as a top-50 prospect heading into the 2024 season after the left-handed slugger crushed Double-A pitching during his age-20 season. Other players would obviously need to be included, but after a concerning regression in 2023 from Clase, Caissie could be the headliner in a deal between Chicago and Cleveland.
Honestly, this is just to vent because of course the Cubs aren’t ever going to consider this type of trade and I can’t really blame the Bleacher Report writer too much because it has been previously reported that the Guardians are asking for a very big return for Clase.
Earlier in the offseason, Bruce Levine reported that the Guardians were asking the Cubs about their number one pitching prospect Cade Horton. As you’ve seen, these trade rumors with Cleveland have gone dormant and the only update has pretty much been the Guardians telling Jon Morosi that teams aren’t offering enough.
This is what the Cubs should do, trade for Kenley Jansen.