The Indians were dealt bad news on Friday afternoon as Major League Baseball issued an 80-game suspension to Emmanuel Clase. The young reliever will not receive pay during the extent of his ban.
Clase was the centerpiece of the haul acquired by the Indians in a December trade that sent Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers.
Clase’s ban focuses on his violation of Major League Baseball’s PED policy after he tested positive for Boldenone. The suspension will not take effect until the season begins, meaning Clase could miss the entire 2020 season if the campaign features less than 80 games. The ban also makes Clase ineligible for the postseason.
The Indians released a statement in response to the suspension, saying, “We were disappointed to learn of today’s suspension of Emmanuel Clase for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. We fully support Major League Baseball’s policy and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing drugs from our game. We have been in contact with Emmanuel, and we will welcome him back after the discipline has been served. Per the protocol outlined by Major League Baseball’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, we will not comment further on the circumstances surrounding this announcement.”
The 22-year-old was signed by the Padres out of the Dominican Republic in 2015 but was dealt to the Rangers as the player to be named later in a 2016 deal involving Brett Nicholas.
The trade that swapped Clase and Kluber also shipped Delino DeShields to Cleveland and cash to Texas.
Clase spent most of his rookie season last year in Texas’ bullpen, making 20 relief appearances and one start. In 23.1 innings, he had a 2.31 ERA, allowing just six earned runs on 20 hits while walking six batters and striking out 21. Clase finished the year with 0.4 fWAR and 3.42 xFIP.
During a fan event in February, Indians team president Chris Antonetti spoke highly of the young right-hander.
“He just happens to have one of the most unique pitches in baseball. He throws 100 miles per hour and it’s not straight,” Antonetti said. “We are excited to see how that plays out and we think he’s got a chance to really help us in the back end of the bullpen.”
Cleveland’s fanbase will need to wait an extra 80 games (or perhaps even a year) to see Clase grace the mound at Progressive Field.