The Cleveland Guardians will have a decision to make this offseason regarding the future of starting pitcher Shane Bieber. There is a very likely scenario that Cleveland could trade the former Cy Young Award winner elsewhere this winter. With that in mind, where does Bieber rank when compared to the rest of the field of players who could potentially be on the move?
Checking in at just outside the Top 10 at number 11 is Bieber, at least in the eyes of Bleacher Report's Joel Reuter in the recently published Ranking Top 30 Potential Trade Chips of the 2023-24 MLB Offseason. Bieber is the fourth-highest ranking starting pitcher behind Corbin Burnes (1), Dylan Cease (6), and Tyler Glasnow (7).
It is noted by Reuter that Cleveland could have traded Bieber had he not gone down with injury. Additionally, the projected salary through arbitration he is likely to receive, combined with the Guardians' rookie pitching trio could lead to Cleveland dealing the veteran right-hander.
"He might have been traded this past summer if not for elbow inflammation that cost him more than two months, and the emergence of rookies Tanner Bibee, Logan Allen and Gavin Williams could make dealing him and his projected $12.2 million salary a priority for the budget-conscious Guardians."- Joel Reuter on Shane Bieber
It is hard to argue with the logic here. Cleveland has other areas of need on their roster, and spending over $10 million on a single starting pitcher when it appears they have plenty of depth does not necessarily make a ton of sense. That money could be used to help bolster an area that the team is desperate to get more production from. The outfield.
There are a few obstacles that the Guardians will face if they try to trade Bieber this offseason. First off, the missed time due to injury. That alone is enough to scare off at least one potential suitor. Next is the drop in velocity and strikeout rate. Both have steadily declined over the last four seasons. Considering this is occurring before he turns 30, it could make teams interested in his services hesitant to make a deal. Or at least be willing to send a trade package that is enticing enough for Cleveland to agree to.
Expect plenty of chatter about Bieber and his future in Cleveland this offseason. The Guardians have never been shy to at least discuss potential trades of pretty much any player on their roster. Bieber seems to fit the prototype of a player that Cleveland moves in order to improve their roster in other areas. It really seems to be when and not if Bieber gets moved at some point before the end of the 2024 season.