Cleveland Guardians avoid arbitration with Shane Bieber for 2024

The Cleveland Guardians avoided arbitration with their ace Shane Bieber, agreeing to a $13.25 million contract for next season.
Cincinnati Reds v Cleveland Guardians
Cincinnati Reds v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages

The Cleveland Guardians have avoided arbitration with one of their top stars. Starting pitcher Shane Bieber, who has been heavily rumored to be on the trading block throughout this offseason, agreed to a $13.25 million contract for next season. Bieber was projected to make $12.2 million after making $10.1 million in 2023 and is in his final year of his rookie contract with the Guardians.

ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel also reported that there are additional incentives in his contract based on Cy Young and All-Star voting, as well as postseason awards voting. Cleveland has been in cost-cutting mode this offseason, as the Guardians are accustomed to doing, and have not made any significant moves in free agency or in the trade market since their playoff-less season ended in late September. Bieber is now the second-highest-paid member of Cleveland’s roster, behind only José Ramírez, who will make $17 million next season.

According to Spotrac, the Guardians still have six players to settle arbitration with: Scott Barlow, Josh Naylor, Triston McKenzie, James Karinchak, Nick Sandlin and Sam Hentges. Bieber’s arbitration settlement continues his appeal as a relatively affordable starting pitcher who could slide into the middle of a World Series contender’s rotation. He’s just 29 years old and still showed strong numbers during limited playing time in 2023 despite another bout with consistent injuries.

Cleveland’s burgeoning young pitchers that have been banging down the door at Triple-A and at the back-end of the rotation have made Bieber expendable, especially as he’s continued to increase in age and as an injury liability. McKenzie, Tanner Bibee, Logan Allen and Gavin Williams are all but set to return as starters for the Guardians next year, with Joey Cantillo, Xzavion Curry and even Daniel Espino coming close to breaking into the rotation.