What seemed to be the inevitable has come to fruition as the Cleveland Guardians have placed starting pitcher Shane Bieber on the 15-day injured list. This comes the day after it was reported that Bieber would miss his next start. The Guardians have recalled Michael Kelly from Triple-A Columbus in a corresponding move.
Bieber is being placed on the injured list due to right elbow inflammation after undergoing an MRI Friday night with an elbow/forearm issue. While he was able to pitch with it before, it has now been determined that a stint on the injured list is required due to what has been reported as a recurring issue.
On top of Bieber's elbow/forearm issue is the fact his recent outings have not gone particularly well. It was not necessarily obvious that Bieber was dealing with something, but with hindsight it does make sense. There is a certain performance level that is expected from the Guardians' ace and it was not present near enough and when it was it did not last as long as needed.
This move does have an impact beyond Shane Bieber
Should the Guardians enter sell mode, a scenario that is more likely now that their rotation is decimated, Bieber was considered to be one of Cleveland's better trade chips. Now that his time on the injured list will take him at least up to the deadline, it makes it incredibly unlikely that he is moved. It also puts the Guardians in a position where becoming buyers at the deadline no longer appears to be an option.
A lot of things are going to have to go right for this team to stay afloat to even entertain the remote possibility of postseason play. A list so long that while not impossible, it just is not something that anyone should count on happening.
On the bright side of things, it does put an end to rumors surrounding Bieber that one former MLB executive referred to as "ridiculous". On the other, trading Bieber could have resulted in a haul that could have helped in the short and long term, like many trades that preceded it.