Approximately half of the offseason is already in the books.
Many teams have found (and paid for) what they were looking for, while others, like the Cleveland Guardians, are still on the lookout for improvements.
In the specific case of the Guardians, they need at least a couple of power hitters.
They finished last in home runs last year, but their pitching is very solid.
That, and the fact he will be a free agent after 2024, puts them in a solid position to trade former ace Shane Bieber and withstand the blow.
Analyst Zach Rymer, who writes MLB content for Bleacher Report, recently came up with an idea: eight realistic trade scenarios that could happen before the start of spring training.
One of them involves Bieber.
8 realistic MLB trades that could happen before Spring Training '24 🌴
— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) January 3, 2024
Rymer says that Bieber could go to the Chicago Cubs alongside reliever Trevor Stephan.
In return, the Cubs would send outfielder Christopher Morel to Cleveland.
In theory, at least, the deal makes sense for the Guardians: Morel is as streaky as they come and strikes out a lot, but he also hit 26 home runs in just 107 games last year.
He also drove in 70 runs and slashed .247/.313/.508 with a .821 OPS.
Considering the state of the Guardians’ outfield when it comes to offensive production, that line would come in handy.
Bieber, in turn, had a 3.80 ERA in 128 innings last year.
His strikeout rate and velocity have been diminishing, though, and teams might be a bit scared at the elbow inflammation he suffered in 2023.
Whether the trade will happen or not remains to be seen, but it’s a realistic, hypothetical scenario in which the Guards add a solid young hitter and the Cubs get a former Cy Young winner and a useful reliever.