Shane Bieber fan? So are the Guardians, apparently.
Bieber is entering his final year before free agency with the perception that he's damaged goods; he was hobbled with an elbow issue in 2023 and watched his numbers regress across the board. Nobody outside the Guardians organization knows him as well as Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake, who came from Cleveland, crafting a natural connection this offseason. The Yankees thinned out their pitching depth in the Soto trade. Why not build it back up by getting Bieber at a relative discount, considering his proximity to free agency and pre-walk year regression?
Then the Yankees traded for Guardians righty Cody Morris instead of expanding the talks into a bigger deal. Huh.
Are the Yankees afraid of Bieber's medicals? Are they offering a discounted package, while Cleveland's countering by valuing the righty more highly? Who knows? All we do know is that Bieber settled on Thursday at a $13.125 million sum for the 2024 season, which is likely a higher figure than the Yankees were expecting/are comfortable with.
The reason the needle has moved so little this offseason might just be teams waiting for arbitration numbers to finalize so they can know what the margins of their budget look like. Bieber was projected at $12.2 million and earned an extra $900,000. Silly, sure, but it seems to matter, especially for a former ace who's no longer a known quantity.