The Cleveland Indians traded two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers in December, for relief pitcher Emmanuel Clase and outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. The Indians’ trade return was heavily criticized, with ESPN’s Keith Law even referring to it as a “salary dump” for Cleveland.

And the trade looks even worse for the Indians now.

The Athletic’s Zack Meisel reports that Clase has been suspended 80 games by MLB, after testing positive for Boldenone, a performance-enhancing drug.

Clase, 22, was the main piece in the trade return for Kluber, and is a high-upside reliever who was expected to be a key part of Cleveland’s bullpen in the upcoming MLB  season. The right-hander had a 2.31 ERA in 23 1/3 innings as a rookie for Texas in 2019, and showed off a fastball averaging 99 mph to go with a hard slider averaging 91 mph.

The suspension doesn’t begin until the season starts, whenever that may be (his suspension will carry over to 2021 if there’s no season in 2020).

And if there’s a 2020 season (which there’s at least optimism about in recent days), it may not be more than 80 games or so. This suspension likely prevents Clase from contributing to a meaningful level — if at all — for the Indians in 2020.

Clase was diagnosed with a upper back strain in February that was expected to keep him out 8-12 weeks, but should’ve been good to go by the time we have regular-season games.

In their preseason projections, FanGraphs had the Indians winning 87 games, coming up just short in the division and Wild Card races. Unlike recent seasons (Cleveland has won 91+ games in four consecutive seasons), the Indians don’t have much room for error this time around, and can’t afford injuries and suspensions to key contributors.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at