Bieber among Guardians to agree to 1-year deal (sources)

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CLEVELAND — The Guardians have avoided arbitration with six of their seven eligible players so far, leaving reliever James Karinchak‘s 2023 contract to be sorted out.

Sources told MLB.com that Cleveland settled on one-year deals with ace Shane Bieber ($10.01 million), shortstop Amed Rosario ($7.8 million), starter Cal Quantrill ($5.5 million), first baseman Josh Naylor ($3.35), starter Zach Plesac ($2.95 million) and righty Aaron Civale ($2.6 million). The team has not confirmed the agreements.

The deadline to exchange salary figures was at 1 p.m. ET on Friday, but the sides can come to an agreement after that mark, as we saw with news of the deals with Bieber and Rosario breaking Friday evening. Karinchak still needs to work out a deal with the Guardians. If one is not reached, he and the team must submit a salary figure each deems appropriate, and a hearing will be scheduled (usually in February). In the meantime, the two sides can continue to negotiate as usual and can agree to a deal before reaching a hearing.

The Guardians can at least breathe a sigh of relief for now, getting their star hurler’s contract out of the way. And the more time that continues to pass, the brighter the spotlight gets on Bieber. He has a 2020 AL Cy Young Award in his back pocket and just turned in an impressive bounce-back year in ’22 after battling right shoulder problems the season prior. He’s undoubtedly established himself as the ace of Cleveland’s rotation and as one of the better arms in the Majors, which only means his price tag will continue to increase.

For now, the Guardians have Bieber locked up for another year. But can that turn into a long-term extension? Will he become trade bait with just one more year of control remaining in 2024? Will he ride out his time in Cleveland until free agency? These are the questions that will surround him all season long.

Rosario has been an interesting player for the Guardians since he was acquired two years ago. He never seemed like the right fit defensively for this team, yet he finds ways to keep earning his spot at shortstop — mostly by helping the offense with his bat, which seems to only turn on when he’s at short. All-Star third baseman Jos? Ram?rez wasn’t shy in expressing his desire to have Cleveland agree to an extension with Rosario, his best friend.

The only player still waiting to work out his contract is Karinchak, who was stellar this past season, owning a 2.08 ERA with 62 strikeouts in 39 innings after struggling mightily in the second half of his ’21 season, which led to a demotion to Triple-A Columbus. However, he missed the beginning of last season due to a right back strain and made just 38 appearances.

Entering the day, Cot’s Baseball Contracts projected the Guardians’ Opening Day payroll to be just south of $90 million, with Karinchak at $2.15 million.

Quantrill has established himself as a reliable starter, with a 3.38 ERA in his first full season in the Guardians’ rotation in 2022, while Naylor brought 20 homers to an offense that desperately needed power when Franmil Reyes didn’t pan out. Plesac and Civale are trying to prove that they can remain healthy and pitch like they have in the past, but they still have the capability of being strong Nos. 4 and 5 starters.