3 ways the Cleveland Guardians can automatically win the offseason
The upcoming offseason will be a very telling one for the Cleveland Guardians. The organization is at a pivotal point. The 2021 season saw the club’s first losing season since 2012 and now changes are being made to the coaching staff. All that paired with the name change and the 2022 season could be one of the most important seasons in recent memory for the club.
The preparation for the 2022 season will be just as important. The roster building, and coaching staff building, takes place now and getting the right pieces in place will be crucial. While Cleveland didn’t win as much as they might have hoped during the regular season, they can shift the tides by “winning the offseason.”
Unlike the season, the offseason isn’t measured by pure wins and losses. The wins are all opinionated, but there’s still certain moves that can be universally viewed as a win. Moves that either change the course of the club for the better or push it closer to where the team needs to be can make the offseason a win no matter what else happens. For the Cleveland Guardians, there are three things that could do just that.
Cleveland Guardians Extend Shane Bieber
The first, and possibly the easiest, way to automatically win the offseason would be to ink the club’s ace Shane Bieber to a long-term extension. Bieber is just now entering the arbitration process and will be under team control through the 2024 season, but Cleveland has learned the value of a deal with Jose Ramirez.
With Ramirez, the team paid him a bit sooner than maybe necessary, but it has turned into one of the biggest bargains in baseball. In this case, the upside for Bieber is that he would get paid more earlier in his career. The upside for the club is that they can sign him beyond 2024 and while they might be paying him more in the short-term, he could very well turn into a huge bargain in the long-term.
The timing could also be a benefit to Cleveland. Despite winning the 2020 American League Cy Young Award with an MLB-record strikeouts per nine, Bieber’s value could be down a bit now. He missed a lot of the 2021 season due to an injury, which could potentially drop his value. Not by a lot, but enough to make a difference in waiting.
There’s also been rumors that the Dolans are willing to spend a little more this offseason to make sure the inaugural season of the Cleveland Guardians is a success. While that usually means free agents, in this case it could mean extending some of Cleveland’s best young talent to keep them in town for the long haul.