March 24: It’s a one-year, $3MM deal that contains an option for the 2023 season, tweets MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
March 23: The Guardians have reached a deal to bring veteran right-hander Bryan Shaw back to Cleveland, Zack Meisel of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Shaw made a league-leading 81 appearances in 2021 for Cleveland — his second stint with the organization. Shaw is repped by CAA Baseball.
A staple in the Cleveland bullpen from 2013-17, Shaw thrice led the league in appearances during that stretch and pitched to an overall 3.11 ERA through 358 2/3 innings of relief work. He reached free agency as one of the most durable and effective names on the market in the 2017-18 offseason, but a three-year deal with the Rockies quickly went south. Shaw was clobbered for a 5.61 ERA in 126 2/3 frames with the Rox, who released him in July 2020. He latched on with the Mariners for the 2020 campaign but was rocked for a dozen runs in six frames with Seattle.
A return to Cleveland on a minor league deal this past year didn’t come with high expectations following that ugly three-year stint, but Shaw generally righted the ship. In 77 1/3 inning of bullpen work, he notched a solid 3.49 ERA, picking up 20 holds and a pair of saves along the way. Shaw’s success wasn’t without its red flags, as his 21.3% strikeout rate was down about four percentage points from its peak and his 11.4% walk rate was the highest full-season mark of his 11-year big league career. Still, Shaw limited hard contact, suppressed homers and picked up swinging strikes at his best rates since the 2017 season.
Assuming he’s on the big league roster, the 34-year-old Shaw will become the elder statesman of Guardians bullpen that is packed with power arms but light on experience. Emmanuel Clase, James Karinchak and Anthony Gose can all pump 100mph fastballs with regularity, but Gose is the only member of the relief corps with even two years of MLB service time — and most of that came earlier in his career as an outfielder, before he made the switch to the mound.