Remember how good it felt when the Guardians extended José Ramirez last month?
And look at how much that move has paid off, with Ramirez solidifying himself as an AL MVP candidate.
The feeling was one of joy, elation, and relief.
That’s because the front office finally acted quickly and decisively before a move to retain star talent grew too far out of reach.
In the not too distant past, former Cleveland studs like Fransisco Lindor were thought to be future staples of the lineup until one day, fans woke up to see Lindor in a Mets uniform.
And nowhere has this drain been so apparent than on the mound.
They were expected to formulate northern Ohio’s next great pitching rotation.
Where are they now?
Everywhere except a Cleveland jersey.
For some time, Cleveland has been caught between trying to contend and appearing as a glorified minor league system, training guys before the big ball clubs come and snap them up.
That makes the question of a Shane Bieber extension all the more pressing.
Given this history, is the time to act on a deal for Shane Bieber now?
Age and Promise
It might feel like Bieber has been around forever, but the righty is only 26.
In his time thus far in the league, he’s gone from a cool-headed innings eater to a bona fide star, earning the Cy Young and Pitching Triple Crown back in 2020.
Excellent bounce-back outing from Shane Bieber tonight..
6 solid IP, allowing 1 run (solo HR by Urshela) on 7 hits w/ 3 BB and 7 K
All square at 1 run apiece as #Guardians come to bat in the 7th
— Jensen Lewis (@JLEWFifty) May 15, 2022
A year later, in 2021, Bieber signed a $6 million contract to avoid arbitration.
It was a great deal for the club, which secured Bieber’s services for roughly $5 million less than his open-market value, per Spotrac.
Bieber is eligible for two more years of arbitration before hitting free agency.
Therefore, simmering just under the surface is the need for a longer-term deal to keep Bieber in Cleveland.
And the Guardians should seize the chance now.
Why not present Bieber with a Blake Snell-ian-like offer of five years, $50 million?
Surely that would be enough to incentivize him to stay in Cleveland?
Or the team could wait another year like it always does.
By that point, Bieber’s value could remain the same, but it likely won’t.
And Bieber could still want to be in Cleveland, but based on the not-so-small sample size, it’s very possible he wants a change of pace.
What exactly is Cleveland’s timeline?
Keeping Bieber around for their eventual MLB arrivals would be a smart move.
Bieber could then provide some solid mentoring, not to mention a steady and experienced high-level arm.
Keeping Bieber in the short term makes sense in the long term.
If the Guardians opt not to move for a Bieber extension, they’re essentially relinquishing any control they have.
What happens when the Scherzer-less Mets come knocking?
Or when Clayton Kershaw decides to hang up his Hall of Fame glove?
"More than anything, I feel like I'm happy with dealing with some adversity and being able to work out of it."
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) May 15, 2022
The big markets will write up a shortlist of potential replacements, and Bieber’s name will be on it.
What team wouldn’t want to add a former Cy Young winner to its rotation?
And for Bieber, the chance to compete on an even bigger stage could be too much to pass up.