There have been trade rumors surrounding Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Shane Bieber for quite some time. Considering how the team has handled situations like this previously it is not exactly a surprise. Cleveland's front office has not exactly been shy about trading away a player on an expiring deal after not being able to come to terms on an extension. But that has not stopped one analyst from being critical of rumors about Bieber's future in Cleveland.
Former MLB GM and current MLB analyst Jim Bowden published his MLB trade deadline outlook for all 30 teams: Latest on buyers, sellers and those in between for The Athletic. Bowden does believe that the Guardians have a chance to win the division, but has some choice words about the Bieber rumors.
"The Guardians and Twins are in for a fun race in the AL Central and it might take just 82-85 wins to make the playoffs. The Guardians’ rotation has been middle of the road (it ranks ninth in the AL in ERA), but their bullpen has been elite, leading the majors with a 3.09 ERA. Rumors of the Guardians trading Shane Bieber are ridiculous given their legitimate shot at the postseason, unless someone wants to overpay at a level where they just can’t say no. The Guardians are 12th in the AL in runs scored and last in the majors in home runs. They need to upgrade their offense at the deadline with a power bat difference-maker or two."- Jim Bowden on Shane Bieber trade rumors
It is hard to argue Bowden's points about Cleveland needing to improve their offense. The Guardians must do something of substance in order to truly contend for the postseason. However he should probably reevaluate his statement about the Bieber rumors.
This is not exactly foreign territory for the Guardians. They have gone down this path before and it would be far from surprising to see them do it again in the form of a Bieber trade. Cleveland's front office has made trades like this time and time again that have resulted in prominent players coming to the franchise.
On the other hand in support of Bowden's point, the Guardians rotation does not have a ton of experience beyond Bieber. Should Cleveland make a run to the posteason they could use the veteran presence of Bieber to help support the younger arms in their rotation. This type of experience can help rookies such as Tanner Bibee, Gavin Williams, and Logan Allen navigate a postseason run properly.
With all of that being said, calling rumors of a Bieber trade ridiculous seems to point towards not having a finger on the pulse of how this front office operates. Could the Guardians opt to go down a different path than they have many times before? Sure, but that is not a bet that anyone should feel confident in placing.