It appears that the trade market is heating up, and the Cleveland Guardians could be involved in a high profile swap.
Two teams in the National League Central have been linked to Guardians' starting pitcher Shane Bieber, according to a report from MLB Network's Jon Morosi. The Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs have been identified as teams looking to acquire a starting pitcher and have been connected to the former Cy Young Award winner. There is one other pitcher named in the report, Tyler Glasnow of the Tampa Bay Rays, a player who most expect to be traded this winter.
While nothing appears to be imminent at the moment, the timing of the report is interesting, to say the least, considering the Winter Meetings are set to begin in early December. This very well could be a precursor to the Guardians being offered a trade package for Bieber that they find acceptable.
This is not exactly uncharted territory for the Guardians organization, as they have made many deals in the past with players who have one arbitration-eligible year remaining. Another factor worth taking into account is the recent cost-cutting measures the organization has made in the form of dealing Cal Quantrill to Colorado. This was made in an effort to offset the potential loss of income from their television deal. However, the recent acquisition of Scott Barlow from San Diego could result in the ballclub being more aggressive when fielding potential offers for Bieber considering the added money they have since taken on.
Should Cleveland determine a deal offered by any team, not just the Cubs or Reds, they would still be in good shape when it comes to thier starting rotation. The Guardians saw the emegence of three rookies in Tanner Bibee, Gavin Williams, and Logan Allen last season. This gave everyone a glimpse at the future of Cleveland's rotation and makes it more justifable to move someone they are unlikely to extend in Bieber.
Even though there is a possibility that the Guardians retain Bieber throughout the winter and have him on the roster to begin the season, but that seems less and less likely, with reports such as this one beginning to surface just before the expected flurry of moves to come.