Cleveland Guardians pitcher Shane Bieber has not performed at the same level over the past two seasons after earning the American League Cy Young back in 2020.
With that said, the 27-year-old right is still a quality starting pitcher. He’s also under team control through the 2024 season.
Despite the fact that Cleveland remains very much alive in the American League Central race (2.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins), we’re hearing reports that he could be made available ahead o the Aug. 2 MLB trade deadline.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that Bieber “could be had.” However, any inquiring team would have to meet Cleveland’s “exorbitant” asking price.
Shane Bieber stats (2021-22): 11-10 record, 3.37 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 244 strikeouts in 208.1 innings
These numbers are down across the board in comparison to Bieber’s performance during the COVID-shortened 2020 season (8-1 recod, 1.63 ERA, 0.87 WHIP).
Moving off a controllable and relatively cheap pitcher ($6 million salary in 2022) wouldn’t seem to be a winning deal for Cleveland. That’s until we realize it has the likes of Triston McKenzie and Cal Quantrill pitching at similar levels. The Guardians are always thinking both short-term and long-term. Acquiring a haul for Bieber would fit under that umbrella.
5 reasonable Shane Bieber trade destinations
- Seattle Mariners: Making a move for Bieber would enable Seattle to move Marco Gonzales (5-10 record, 1.39 WHIP) to a long-relief role. The contending team has a nice top-of-the-rotation group in that of Logan Gilbert, George Kirby and Robbie Ray. It could potentially get this done by offering up pitcher Emerson Hancock and shortstop Edwin Arroyo as headliners.
- Baltimore Orioles: Despite putting up a surprising performance thus far this season, Baltimore can’t be seen as contenders. So, why make a move for Shane Bieber? Well, the fact that he’s under team control for two more seasons helps. The Orioles also need some top-line pitching to go with their strong young lineup. Perhaps, offering up No. 3 prospect (outfielder Colton Cowser) as the headliner could move the needle here.
- Atlanta Braves: Boasting Max Fried and Kyle Wright at the top of their rotation, pitching might not be a huge need for the defending champs. With that said, heading into the playoffs with this trio taking turns would help Atlanta repeat. It is also said to be active ahead of the trade deadline. Any deal of this ilk would likely require No. 2 prospect (pitcher Bryce Elder) heading back to Cleveland as the centerpiece.
- Minnesota Twins: Currently in first place, Minnesota can’t be confident going into the playoffs with a rotation headed by Dylan Bundy, Joe Ryan and Sonny Gray. It needs to add a top-of-the-rotation arm. With that said, the Twins would obviously have to pay a premium to pry Shane Bieber away from their division rivals. That would likely include two of their top-five prospects heading to Cleveland.
- New York Yankees: The first-place Yanks are in on both Frankie Montas and Luis Castillo. They have the prospects to offer up in a trade of this ilk. In fact, it wouldn’t be too cost prohibitive for New York to dangle No. 3 prospect (outfielder Jasson Dominguez) and fifth-ranked prospect (pitcher Ken Waldichuk) in talks with the Guardians. Just imagine the MLB-best team heading into this year’s playoffs with Gerrit Cole and Shane Bieber heading its rotation. Wow!