The Cleveland Indians were in danger of getting swept at home by the Kansas City Royals after an already tough start to the season in Detroit.
Then the stars came to the rescue.
The Indians are off Thursday and that gave fans time to soak in the glory of the most exciting win of the season thus far.
Wednesday saw Shane Bieber take the mound in a day game against the Royals.
The team was off Tuesday, which meant fans had plenty of time to stew about Monday’s shutout loss.
Bieber came to the rescue.
He had 12 strikeouts in 6.1 innings and only allowed two earned runs.
Unfortunately, the offense was stagnant other than a two-run home run from Jose Ramirez.
The Royals made it 2-2 in the top of the seventh and fans were begging for more offense.
Another two-run blast from Ramirez was the ultimate difference and sent fans home smiling.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) April 7, 2021
Can we please pay these guys already?
Bieber’s Dominance Continues
Let’s start with the ace.
He had 12 strikeouts after posting 12 in his first start of the season.
He is an American League Cy Young favorite for a reason.
The Indians simply cannot afford to linger on a Bieber extension.
His price tag is literally rising every time he throws a pitch.
The team does have time on its side.
Shane had 12 strikeouts yesterday.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) April 8, 2021
Bieber begins his arbitration years in 2022 and does not hit free agency until after the 2024 season.
But his arbitration salaries could break records and the team could easily sign him to a seven or eight-year deal that eats up those three seasons.
There is certainty on both ends and the Indians would have one of the best pitchers in baseball locked in to avoid any sort of rebuild.
He is a bit different than Ramirez in that he has not previously signed a team-friendly deal.
The Tricky Situation with Ramirez
Is Ramirez even going to listen to extension talks?
He saw what happened with his friend Francisco Lindor and is already severely underpaid by the team.
Ramirez is making $9 million in 2021 and the team holds club options on him in 2022 and 2023.
Those options could net him a combined $26 million over those two seasons.
But once again, he could make close to that in a single season elsewhere.
The Indians not even engaging in talks with Ramirez could mean there is zero chance he re-signs after 2023, given they pick up both options.
He will turn 31 years old in September 2023 and should earn some big money somewhere.
That could mean upward of $200 million.
Signing him now means getting rid of those option years and also rewarding a player for his talent.
Of course, that above sentence doesn’t always apply to this franchise.
Bieber and Ramirez both deserve extensions.
And at some point this franchise is going to have to retain a homegrown star.
Wednesday proved that having stars can truly make the ultimate difference in a big way.