Shane Bieber projected to receive free agent deal within Guardians' price range

Cleveland Guardians v Oakland Athletics
Cleveland Guardians v Oakland Athletics / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

When the 2024 season began, Shane Bieber was a man on a mission. Looking to put the concerns about his diminished velocity and drop in strikeouts to rest, Bieber was fantastic in his first two starts, pitching 12 innings of shutout baseball while striking out 20 batters and walking just one. It appeared that 2020 American League Cy Young Award Winner Bieber was back and ready to prove he was still a frontline starter. Unfortunately, this would all come to an end after those two starts due to Bieber requiring season-ending Tommy John surgery. The timing of this injury appears to have an impact on what Bieber could receive in free agency if a recent projection is to be believed.

Appearing as part of the Honorable Mention: Pitchers section of Zachary D. Rymer's Predicting MLB Free-Agent Contracts For Top Names of the 2024-25 Class appearing on Bleacher Report is Bieber. Noting his Tommy John surgery, Rymer would note the following, "His best hope now is to sign a Brandon Woodruff deal that would bind him to a team for 2025 and 2026.". The projected deal for Bieber being a relatively short one at two years for $17.5 million.

Even though this may not be anything close to the figure he was hoping for entering 2024, it would be hard for him to turn down, considering the nature of his injury and his recent performance history. It would also be something the Guardians could definitely manage on their payroll and would be of mutual benefit to both parties. Bieber would be able to work his way back in a familiar setting while the Guardians are able to have someone they know is capable of being a top of the rotation arm. Additionally, the Guardians may be one of the only teams to offer him a deal like this due to the extensive background information that is only available to them. The times that free agent deals are truly win-win are few and far between, but an agreement as projected here would definitely fit that description.