CLEVELAND — After striking out in free agency, the Cleveland Guardians locked up one of their own, reaching a deal with the closer Emmanuel Class on a five-year, $20 million contract, according to multiple reports.
The Class deal is pending a physical exam.
The deal includes club options for 2027 and 2028 worth $10 million each, according to reports. It could be a few days before the deal is completed.
Class missed all of 2020 after being suspended for performance-enhancing drugs. However, he thrived in his first year as Cleveland’s closer, recording 24 saves with a 1.29 ERA in 71 appearances as a rookie in 2021. Class had 74 strikeouts in 69⅔ innings.
The 24-year-old pitcher began last season sharing the closer job with James Karinchak, before becoming one of the American League’s young pitching stars. Clase gives manager Terry Francona a reliable weapon in the back of a bullpen that will need to have a big year to keep Cleveland competitive.
The Guardians have been criticized for their lack of spending during the offseason. They went after some free agents, but fell short and further alienated fans who wanted them to do more after an 80-82 season.
The team has had talks this spring with All-Star third baseman Jose Ramirez, about a possible long-term contract. He is under team control through the 2023 season and is the highest-paid player in Cleveland, earning $12 million this season.
The Guardians acquired the Class of Texas Rangers in 2019 as part of a trade that sent former AL Cy Young Award winner, Corey Kluberto the Rangers.
The Guardians’ deal with Clase was first reported by Univision.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Reports: Guardians and Class agree for 5 years