The Cleveland Indians have two legitimate stars on the roster in Shane Bieber and Jose Ramirez.
And sticking with that title, both are All-Stars in 2021.
Bieber, once he returns from injury, will retain his title as ace of the staff and one of the best pitchers in all of baseball.
Ramirez, meanwhile, continues to put up numbers worthy of some MVP votes.
Both players give the Indians a fighting chance at contention in 2021 and will do the same as long as they are both in Cleveland.
Yet that is the ultimate thing to remember.
Will the Indians be able to get both Bieber and Ramirez signed to long-term deals?
Let’s take a look at both individual situations.
Still Time For The Ace
Shane Bieber said he hasn't had in-depth conversations with the Indians about a long-term contract extension, and suggested those talks will now be on hold until next offseason anyway. pic.twitter.com/fjjyhPcdvy
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) March 27, 2021
Bieber is still pitching for a minimum salary in 2021 and doesn’t even begin the first of his three arbitration years until 2022.
That is when his value is going to skyrocket.
This means Bieber cannot hit free agency until after the 2024 season.
Indians fans who have followed the team at all over the past two decades know the front office not rushing to get an extension signed is nothing new.
But it would be beneficial for both sides to get a deal done that keeps Bieber in town for the long-term while also buying out his arbitration years.
Spotrac currently lists his market value at five years, and $56 million.
That value is kept low by the fact Bieber still has those remaining years of arbitration.
But what about something along the lines of a seven or eight-year deal worth $100 million?
That would obviously shatter franchise records, and the fact the Indians seem to be solely drafting pitchers this year is not a good sign for any aging pitcher currently in the organization.
This is true even for someone great like Bieber.
Thus, any sort of extension remains a long-shot right now.
The only way that changes is if Bieber decides he wants a team-friendly deal to ensure higher earnings between now and 2024.
A Ticking Clock On Jose
Ramirez is already on a team-friendly deal that includes club options in both 2022 and 2023.
Jose Ramirez lifetime contract please.
— SportsNom (@SportsNom) May 14, 2021
But he is wildly underpaid, as Spotrac lists his market value at seven years, $211 million.
This is a perennial MVP candidate the Indians are paying only $9 million this year.
His two options combine for a total of $26 million as well.
Let’s say the Indians pick up both and it is the 2023 All-Star break.
If the Indians aren’t going to give Ramirez anywhere near $200 million, or even $150 million for that matter, a trade is going to happen.
One could even happen next season to maximize the return.
There is just no logical way this ownership group hands out a deal like that to a player over the age of 30.
So unless new owners rush in, Ramirez’s time in Cleveland will likely end before the conclusion of the 2023 season.
Is this a bummer?
Yes, but Indians fans just saw the same thing happen with Francisco Lindor this past offseason.
So we are used to it by now.
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