Guardians tender contracts to all 7 arbitration-eligible players; none have signed yet

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  • Cleveland Indians
    Cleveland Indians
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  • Josh Naylor
    Josh Naylor
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  • Cal Quantrill
    Cal Quantrill
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  • Austin Hedges
    Austin Hedges
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  • Shane Bieber
    Shane Bieber
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  • Amed Rosario
    Amed Rosario
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  • Franmil Reyes
    Franmil Reyes
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Starting pitcher Shane Bieber is one of seven Guardians arbitration-eligible players tendered contracts Tuesday night. [Elaine Thompson/Associated Press]
Starting pitcher Shane Bieber is one of seven Guardians arbitration-eligible players tendered contracts Tuesday night. [Elaine Thompson/Associated Press]

The Guardians tendered contracts to all seven of their arbitration-eligible players Tuesday, but none agreed to sign.

The list of players eligible for arbitration this winter includes Shane Bieber, Cal Quantrill, Franmil Reyes, Amed Rosario, Austin Hedges, Josh Naylor and Bradley Zimmer.

The deadline for teams to tender contracts for arbitration-eligible players was 8 p.m. Tuesday night, ahead of the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday night. It's possible the league is headed for a lockout beginning on Thursday.

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On the verge of a potential lockout, Major League Baseball had a flurry of activity on the free-agent front in addition to the deadline to tender contracts to qualified players. Teams can still negotiate with players up until their arbitration hearing date, which would normally take place in a few months. But if there is a lockout, all of that could be subject to change as everything would be put on hold.

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Bieber, Reyes, Rosario, Hedges and Zimmer all were arbitration eligible due to having more than three years of MLB service time at the conclusion of the 2021 season.

Players accrue service time for every day they're at the major league level. Once they reach three, four and five full years of service time, they are eligible for arbitration before hitting free agency after reaching six full years of service time.

This is why many top prospects are called up a few weeks into the season, which means they won't reach one full year of service time during their rookie season, instead finishing just under that mark and giving the franchise an extra year of control.

Shortstop Amed Rosario is one of seven Guardians arbitration-eligible players who were tendered contracts ahead of the deadline Tuesday night. [Charlie Riedel/Associated Press]
Shortstop Amed Rosario is one of seven Guardians arbitration-eligible players who were tendered contracts ahead of the deadline Tuesday night. [Charlie Riedel/Associated Press]

Quantrill and Naylor were arbitration eligible as Super 2 players, as they were in the top 22 percent of players with more than two years of service time but fewer than three. Quantrill qualified by 16 days and Naylor was over the mark by 11 days. Myles Straw was almost another Super 2 player, but he fell four days short.

Bieber remains the Guardians' top extension target. A former Cy Young Award winner, Bieber is under club control through the 2024 season and he'll be able to command a hefty price tag. Last season, Bieber was sidelined for several months with a shoulder strain. He finished with a 7-4 record, a 3.17 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 96⅔ innings.

Quantrill had one of the top turnarounds in baseball in 2021. He opened spring training seemingly with an inside track to a rotation spot but lost it due to a poor camp. He opened the year in the bullpen and then, due to three injuries, joined the rotation and had one of the best second halves in baseball.

Quantrill posted a 1.94 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 88 innings in the second half of the season and secured his spot in the 2022 rotation, barring something drastic.

Cleveland starting pitcher Cal Quantrill delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Cleveland starting pitcher Cal Quantrill delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Reyes, another potential extension candidate, also missed significant time with an injury. But when he was in the lineup, he continued his progression toward becoming one of the most dangerous power hitters in the American League. He finished the season hitting .254 with an .846 OPS, 30 home runs, 18 doubles and 85 RBIs in 115 games.

Rosario had a dynamic second half once he reclaimed the starting shortstop job, hitting .309 with six home runs, 16 doubles, two triples, 32 RBIs and five stolen bases in his final 61 games. He could remain at shortstop or possibly be moved around again depending on how the roster construction comes together heading into this spring.

Hedges is in line to be the team's primary catcher in 2022 after Roberto Perez had his club option declined. Perez reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday. Known more for his defensive prowess, Hedges hit 10 home runs in 312 plate appearances but also hit just .178. Catcher will be one of the team's focal points this winter, whether it's for an upgrade or for depth.

Cleveland's Franmil Reyes watches his two-run home run during the third inning of the team's baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Cleveland's Franmil Reyes watches his two-run home run during the third inning of the team's baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Zimmer might have done just enough, and at just the right time, to earn another shot heading into 2022. He finished the season with uninspiring numbers — .222 average, .669 OPS — but in the second half began to show some glimpses of progression at the plate.

He hit some prodigious home runs, three of them among the longest by a Cleveland hitter since 2015, and added 15 stolen bases. Zimmer will get a shot in 2022 to finally put it all together for an extended period of time. The potential has been there, but the track record has not.

Naylor had a rough start to 2021 and had just seemingly turned it around offensively before shattering his ankle in a scary collision with Ernie Clement in Minnesota. It required extensive surgery that not only ended his season, but left his status for opening day in serious doubt.

President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti said recently that the hope is Naylor can resume some form of baseball activities this spring, but his timeline to return to games is still up in the air.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com. Read more about the Guardians at www.beaconjournal.com/sports/cleveland-guardians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Guardians tender contracts to 7 arbitration-eligible players; none sign