The Cleveland Guardians don’t have much going on right now except for their very good pitching: their offense is atrocious, the Chicago White Sox are the clear top dog in the division, and the rest of the teams are all improving.
Speaking of Bieber, the Guardians will get to enjoy having him for the 2022 season at an absurdly low price, certainly much less than he deserves, but that has to do more with the salary arbitration system than with the franchise per se.
Per MLB’s Mark Feinsand, the Guardians and Bieber avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6 million contract yesterday.
Shane Bieber and the Guardians have agreed to a $6 million contract to avoid arbitration, per source.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) March 22, 2022
Yes, it’s true that Bieber spent most of the second half on the shelf with a rather severe shoulder injury (a strain, to be specific), but he showed in September that he is still healthy enough to be among the league’s best hurlers.
Bieber Deserves To Earn Way More, But Will Get Paid Eventually
He is entering spring training fully healthy after scaring fans with that shoulder injury.
According to FanGraphs’ estimate, Bieber’s performance in 2021 dictates he should be worth around $20.8 million, and that’s with only 16 starts and 96.2 innings under his belt.
FanGraphs’ calculates a player is worth around $8 million per WAR (Wins Above Replacement) in the open market, and Bieber finished 2021 with 2.6 WAR.
It’s a hypothetical exercise.
He struck out 12.48 hitters per nine innings and had a solid 3.17 ERA.
He is an extremely valuable player that is about to get paid handsomely, either by the Guardians or by any other team.
With the way Cleveland operates, it’s not at all far-fetched to see them trading him while his value is high at some point in the year or next.
He has three seasons remaining of team control, so the Guardians will have to either extend him or trade him before he loses value.