The Guardians won’t have an arbitration hearing in 2023.
On Friday, the club agreed to one-year deals with all seven arbitration-eligible players on the roster — starting pitchers Shane Bieber ($10.01 million), Cal Quantrill ($5.55 million), Zach Plesac ($2.95 million) and Aaron Civale ($2.6 million), shortstop Amed Rosario ($7.8 million), first baseman Josh Naylor ($3.35 million) and reliever James Karinchak ($1.5 million) — a source confirmed to the Beacon Journal.
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The $33.76 million added in salary brings the Guardians’ estimated 2023 payroll to $91 million, according to FanGraphs’ calculations. It was $51 million 2021 and $69 million last season, a steep decline after it hit $140 million in 2018 and $124 million in 2019.
Since the payroll hit a recent low mark two years ago, extensions handed out to Jose Ramirez, Emmanuel Clase and Myles Straw, free agent deals given to Josh Bell ($16.5 million for 2023 with a $16.5 million player option for 2024) and Mike Zunino ($6 million) and Friday’s seven signings have raised that number roughly $40 million, though it’s still well below the team’s high water mark in the years after a run to the 2016 World Series.
Bieber and Rosario, as it relates to upcoming decisions the team will need to make, are the most notable names on that list. Bieber is due to become a free agent after the 2024 season, making him one of the few players on the roster who isn’t under control for several years. This won’t be the first offseason in which questions about a possible extension have surrounded him, and unless something definitive happens in the next year it won’t be the last.
Shane Bieber contract extension with Guardians remains a question mark
Last season, Bieber again didn’t have the kind of velocity he exhibited earlier in his career, but he also went a long way toward proving he can find success without it, posting a 2.88 ERA with 198 strikeouts in 200 innings. That performance came on the heels of an injury-riddled 2021 season that played a role (among other factors) in the team choosing to stay away from Bieber in an effort to protect his shoulder in Game 5 of the ALDS against the New York Yankees.
The Guardians know they have Bieber for two seasons, barring a trade. The next question is where he throws his first pitch of 2025.
Rosario, meanwhile, can be a free agent after this season. A number of factors are playing roles in whether the Guardians trade him, and it has become a nuanced situation as the team balances its World Series hopes in 2023 with their future plans at the position.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at [email protected] Read more about the Guardians at www.beaconjournal.com/sports/cleveland-guardians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.
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