Cleveland Guardians, Shane Bieber avoid arbitration with $6 million contract

Shane Bieber #57 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Shane Bieber #57 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
Cleveland Indians, Shane Bieber
Shane Bieber #57 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

By signing Shane Bieber, the Cleveland Guardians have avoided arbitration with all seven of their eligible players.

The Cleveland Guardians’ seven arbitration-eligible players have now all officially agreed to 2022 contracts, as ace pitcher Shane Bieber agreed to a $6 million deal on Tuesday.

The $6 million contract was above the original estimate for Bieber, which was set for $4.8 million.

Bieber, 26, was on his way to having another stellar season last year before going down with a strained right shoulder in June, which kept him out of action more than three months. After coming back for two starts in September, he managed to finish the year with a 3.17 ERA, racking up 134 strikeouts in 16 starts (96 2/3 innings) and being named an All-Star for the second time in his career.

While he doesn’t become a free agent until after the 2024 season, Bieber has also shown an interest in a possible contract extension with the Guardians. It’s hard to see that actually happening if he has another Cy Young-esque season, but the Guardians have consistently said they’re looking to spend money as the team ascends into a contention window, and this would include any possible extensions for current players (which, let’s be honest, remains a far more viable path for this franchise). The only reason this might seem even remotely plausible in another year is the possible infusion of cash from potential minority owner David Blitzer.

It’s also possible – but just ever so slightly – that Bieber might be thinking about an extension a little bit differently following his injury last season. The future will always be an unknown for a player; would it be better to lock in his millions as soon as he can or is Bieber willing to bet on himself and cash in on a mega deal down the road?

No matter what, the Guardians are able to retain Bieber’s services for the next two seasons, anchoring a rotation that looks to be truly elite if everyone can stay healthy. To paraphrase a certain owner in town, fans should enjoy Bieber while they can.