Cleveland Indians: Shutting Shane Bieber down makes most sense

CLEVELAND, OHIO - JUNE 13: Shane Bieber #57 of the Cleveland Indians reacts during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Progressive Field on June 13, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - JUNE 13: Shane Bieber #57 of the Cleveland Indians reacts during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Progressive Field on June 13, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Cleveland Indians, barring a minor miracle or another historic winning streak, are not going to the playoffs in 2021. That reality set in months ago when Shane Bieber hit the injured list.

At one point in time the Indians were without Bieber, Aaron Civale, and Zach Plesac. Plesac is the only one currently back healthy.

Bieber and Civale are on the comeback trail but the fact it is already August 16 puts them on a tight deadline. The minor league season is ending in a few weeks and normal rehab assignments will no longer be possible. Bieber is easing back into action and at this point it may just be wise to shut him down and focus on 2022.

Time running out for Bieber to return

Let’s say the ace finally works back up to a return at the start of September. The goal for the Indians now, given their record, is developing and evaluating young players. That means focusing on the likes of Eli Morgan, Sam Hentges, Triston McKenzie, and Cal Quantrill. The franchise knows what it has in Bieber and having him start in meaningless games does nothing to help the team.

A fair alternative is to just have Bieber go through a simulated program to finish up September. He can get work in, just not in an intense game setting. Extra rest for a pitcher is never a bad thing considering just how long he has spent throwing a baseball in his life. The last thing the team wants is for Bieber to take all this time recovering, only to tweak something right before the offseason.

Next. Triston McKenzie finally looking like future ace. dark

Some fans may see this approach as being too cautious. But the Indians are trying to figure out their plans for 2022 beyond just the name change to Guardians. Bieber is already going to enter the year as the ace. Giving some young guys more time in the final month of the season, and letting Bieber continue to recover, will hopefully avoid a scenario where the team starts a new era shorthanded at all.