8. Shane Bieber
The will they or won't they that has surrounded the Cleveland Guardians and the status of Shane Bieber has found itself on this list. Bieber is the fifth-ranked starting pitcher appearing in this Top 50 list, behind Lucas Giolito, Jordan Montgomery, Jack Flaherty, and Marcus Stroman.
It is noted that a trade of the Guardians ace may not be in the form of a haul of prospects and could follow similar trade packages of the past.
"Trading Bieber strictly for prospects seems unlikely, but Cleveland could shop him in an effort to inject some life into the offense. Adding controllable outfield talent could be particularly welcome. It’s a script Cleveland has followed on a few occasions in the past. Corey Kluber, Trevor, Bauer, and Mike Clevinger have all been shipped off as the organization’s pitching development pipeline churns out similarly productive and less expensive young pitchers."- Anthony Franco on Shane Bieber
Bieber's drop in dominance and velocity were also mentioned, two notable areas that anyone who has watched the Guardians the past few seasons is quite aware of.
"Bieber hasn’t been as dominant as he was a few years back. His velocity hasn’t been the same since a 2021 shoulder injury and this year’s 19.3% strikeout rate is the first below-average mark of his career. Even if he’s no longer a Cy Young caliber hurler, Bieber looks the part of an effective #3 type. He’s sixth in the majors with 110 2/3 innings pitched and sports a 3.66 ERA with plus control and a solid 46.3% grounder rate. The right-hander is making a hair over $10MM this season and is eligible for arbitration once more before hitting free agency."- Anthony Franco on Shane Bieber
While Bieber may not be the true ace that teams get a haul for in the past, the 28-year old would stlll command a return that would be noteworthy to say the least. A trade package that features talent now and for the future much like their previous dealings with San Diego seems to be the ideal path forward.
Perhaps Cleveland could attach Amed Rosario to a trade sending Bieber elsewhere to help boost the return a little. In this scenario it would be the Guardians shaking things up in the infield while hopefully getting a major league hitter in exchange that has some much needed thump in his profile.