Cubs fans are sharply divided over this hypothetical Emmanuel Clase trade proposal

If the Cubs go after the Guardians closer via trade, it'll come at a steep cost - and rightfully so.

Minnesota Twins v Cleveland Guardians
Minnesota Twins v Cleveland Guardians / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

Throughout the offseason, the Cubs have been connected to Guardians All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase - one of the most sought-after trade targets of the winter. Under team control through 2028 on a club-friendly deal, the right-hander could be a bullpen staple in Chicago for years to come.

Over at Bleacher Report, in a piece dedicated to 'win-win' trade ideas ahead of Opening Day, there's a proposal between Chicago and Cleveland that looks something like this.

B/R Cubs-Guardians Trade

Of course, Morel is a player who, on his own, elicits very strong reactions from fans - and it's not hard to see why. The Cubs' most high-energy player since Javier Baez, he's shown an ability to come up in the clutch and he's put up some impressive offensive numbers in his very young career. He tied for the team lead in home runs last season, despite appearing in just 107 games, and who could forget about his walk-off against the Sox at Wrigley?

Throw in the fact that, like Clase, Morel comes with long-term cost control and you can see why a large number of Cubs fans aren't particularly keen about trading him - regardless for what Jed Hoyer may get in return.

Cubs remain connected to Guardians' Emmanuel Clase in trade rumors

Caissie is a prospect on the rise in a reloaded Cubs farm system, recently checking in at #47 on MLB Pipeline's top 100 rankings. Acquired from the Padres in the Yu Darvish trade, the outfielder is a guy Cubs fans are particularly high after he was named the organization's minor league player of the year in 2023 - so seeing him packaged with Morel is a hard 'pass' for a lot of folks.

But top-tier relievers don't come cheap and, make no mistake, Clase is exactly that. For the second straight year, he led the league in saves, tallying 44, emerging as a shutdown ninth-inning presence for Cleveland. At just 25 years old, he's a shutdown reliever and, with good reason, the Guardians continue to stick to a high asking price for the right-hander.

It remains to be seen if the Cubs even remain interested in Clase after the Hector Neris signing. They could very well see Neris and last year's closer, Adbert Alzolay, as a legitimate eight and ninth-inning tandem, allowing them to pass on Cleveland's lucrative asking price for the time being. But should the 2024 team take shape as a legitimate World Series contender heading into the deadline, Clase is a name to keep in mind if the Cubs are in need of late-inning weapons in the same way they were back in 2016.