Cleveland Indians: Who will be the “face of the franchise” in 2021?

Shane Bieber #57 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
Shane Bieber #57 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

While the impending trade of Francisco Lindor takes up the news in Cleveland, there are some who ask, who will be the face of the Cleveland Indians in 2021?

If anyone is asked around Cleveland, “Who would you say is the face of the Cleveland Indians?”, a vast majority would answer with Francisco Lindor. It’s only fair that he comes to mind. Since making his debut in 2015, Lindor has been not only the face of the franchise in Cleveland, but one of the most well known in all of Major League Baseball.

Although, that might not be the case in 2021. The face of the Cleveland Indians is rumored to get dealt this offseason. So that begs the question, who will be the new face of the Cleveland Indians in 2021? While others could emerge, there are two names that have a legitimate chance to be the new face of the Cleveland Indians in 2021.

Option 1: José Ramirez

The first option wouldn’t be a surprise to any Cleveland Indians fan since José Ramirez burst onto the scene with a monster 2016 season. Ramirez’s combination of speed and power are clear indicators that his production, along with his defense, makes him a household name in at least Cleveland, if not around all of baseball.

Since making his debut in 2013, but not really making a name for himself until 2016, he’s been on a tear for the Indians being the main cog in that offense. It seems like when Ramirez catches on, the offense thrives. Since 2016, Ramirez has been able to register over 70 RBIs every season (not including 2020 due to a shortened season) and have an average over .270 minus 2019 where he hit .255 on the year.

Furthermore, he has gotten huge numbers in the home run department since 2017, blasting 29 in 2017, 39 in 2018, 23 in 2019 and 17 in the shortened 2020. Also, when Ramirez got back with the Indians in 2019 after being injured, the team took off and made a late playoff push before falling short after he got hurt again. It’s a clear sign that Ramirez will be a huge piece for the Cleveland Indians moving forward in 2021 and beyond with his contract finishing up after the 2023 season. It is important to note, however, that there are options in his contract in 2022 and 2023 before being a UFA in 2024.

It makes sense for Ramirez to be the Cleveland Indians new “face of the franchise” going into the 2021 season. Although, the other guy might have something to say about that after having a historic 2020 season on the mound for the Cleveland Indians.

Option 2: Shane Bieber

This shouldn’t be shock for Indians fans after the stellar 2020 season that Shane Bieber had, not just by the Indians’ standards, but being one of the best pitchers in the majors.

In his second full season, third season overall with the Cleveland Indians, Bieber had one of the best seasons in all of baseball. He finished the year with the pitching triple crown for the MLB while leading the sport in wins with eight, strikeouts at 122, and ERA with 1.63. All of that while pitching in 77.1 innings this season.

What’s even more impressive, he had a strikeouts per nine mark of 14.2 which also lead all of baseball, while also leading the league in FIP (2.07) and ERA+ (281). Let’s also not forget that Bieber won the All-Star Game MVP in 2019 in Cleveland after striking out the side in order.

Furthermore, it expected and a near guarantee that Bieber is going to win the 2020 AL Cy Young Award for this season, the winner being announced on Nov. 11, after what he did for the Cleveland Indians this year. What helps the Indians is that he is going into his first arbitration season in 2022 and is a UFA in 2025 when he’s 30, leaving plenty of time left in Cleveland.

Its a clear sign that Bieber could be the face of the franchise after having the season he did in 2020. He makes a great case to be the guy in Cleveland since he’s posted a record of 34-14 in his career with the team since 2018. As of right now he has a career ERA of 3.32 and has struck out 499 batters in 406 1/3 IP. It’s only going to get better for this young ace of the Cleveland Indians.

If I had to make a bet on who will be the Cleveland Indians going in 2021, my money is on Shane Bieber.

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