San Diego Padres: 4 player moves A.J. Preller likely regrets

Cleveland Guardians v Minnesota Twins
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Cleveland Guardians relief pitcher Emmanuel Clase
Cleveland Guardians relief pitcher Emmanuel Clase / Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Emmanuel Clase traded to the Texas Rangers

Emmanuel Clase has established himself as baseball’s premier closer. He takes the ball in the ninth inning, and the Cleveland Guardians are leaving the field as winners.

In 208 appearances, Clase has a 1.63 ERA with 91 saves. His strikeout ratio is 22.4%, but Clase’s walk ratio (6.4%) and groundball outs ratio (57.7%) are both above league averages. Having a quality closer like Clase has increased the Guardians chances of making the postseason.

The Friar Faithful would have hoped Preller showed some patience and allowed Clase time to thrive in the minor system. Instead, he sent him to the Texas Rangers for organizational outfield depth. It was a colossal mistake.

The Rangers also failed to see the potential of Clase as they traded him to Cleveland in the Corey Kluber deal. He did make his major debut with Texas as Clase posted a 2.31 ERA in 23.1 IP. But he upped his game to a new level with the Guardians.

Clase excelled in high-level late-inning situations by striking batters at a 25.9% rate. Opposing batters are hitting .193 against him this season. The Guardians signed Clase to a five-year/$20 million deal, which includes two club options at $10 million in 2027 and 2028.

The Padres should regret not holding onto Clase as it would give them a different look to their bullpen. It would be ideal to have a quality closer under team control while chasing a World Series title. Preller would be dealing from strength as he could use assets to outbid the market for more pressing roster needs.

Unfortunately, the Friars have not produced a prospect like Clase during Preller’s front-office reign.