If the Cleveland Guardians go down the path of deciding to trade Shane BIeber, the return may not be as high as some expect. That is at least what one unanmed executive told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
In Rosenthal's latest article appearing on the Athletic (subscription required), a few select teams and how they will tackle the upcoming trade deadline are mentioned, and that includes the Guardians. Speaking specificaly about Bieber, the anonymous executive expresses concern on whether or not he is a "playoff difference maker" in addition to adding uncertainty about whether or not "he's the answer in the playoffs".
Rosenthal did note the drop in fastball velocity over the past few years in addition to how hard Bieber has been hit this year. These are valid points, but do not come as a surprise to anyone who has watched Bieber the last couple of seasons. The drop in velocity is very real as is the drop in strikeouts. Bieber has been able to be an effective pitcher this season, with a 3.57 ERA in 80.2 innings, but the former Cy Young Award winner has a career-low 6.1 strikeouts per nine this season. This has been a trend for some time as this number has dropped in each season following his Cy Young Award.
Sure, some of this is just some precisely timed public quotes from an individual who wants to remain anonymous, but that does not necessarily make them untrue. This is clearly a public downplaying of Bieber's value in order to manipulate the market a bit, but the concerns noted here are real. Things can always change in regards to how desperate a team may be when trade talks heat up more, but for the time being it may best to temper expectations on exactly what the Guardians could get in return for Shane Bieber.