A decision was made by the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday, which may have revealed a glimpse at what their approach this winter could be.
Needing to make some moves ahead of the 40-man roster deadline for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft, the Guardians determined that it was in their best interest to designate Cal Quantrill for assignment. While not directly involved in this transaction, this decision could be a telling one regarding their plans for Shane Bieber this offseason.
There has been plenty of speculation about whether or not Cleveland could move Bieber for quite some time. Most expected that to grow now that the season over is and teams are getting ready for the flurry of offseason moves on the horizon. But it now seems to be in everyone's best interest to curb any expectations of a Bieber trade now that Quantrill is out of the picture.
Quantrill would have been a logical choice to take the vacant spot in Cleveland's starting rotation should Bieber be moved. Now, it must be said that Quantrill would not have been expected to be the ace caliber pitcher that Bieber has shown to be in the past, but rather be one of several moving parts in what has been a years-long ascension cycle of starting pitching. This is no longer an option, as it is expected that Quantrill will be traded sometime in the next week or claimed on waivers by another ballclub. Essentially, his time with the Guardians organization appears to have come to an end, with the chances of Bieber being traded this winter taking a major hit along the way.
Even though the Guardians have designated Quantrill for assignment, that does not necessarily mean that a trade of Bieber absolutely will not happen. It is important to keep in mind that the Guardians are always going to listen to offers for every player on their roster, just in case they end up being on the receiving end of a proverbial Godfather offer. There is also the possibility that Cleveland acquires another major league starting pitcher, with that transaction allowing for a trade of Bieber to once again become viable.
Until Cleveland receives an overwhelming offer or acquires another starting pitcher, it does not appear that a trade of Bieber is all that likely anytime soon.