The Cleveland Guardians have the depth and quality to withstand a Shane Bieber trade.
Despite dealing with all kinds of problems in 2023, the right-hander was still able to post a decent 3.80 ERA in 128 innings.
With 2024 being his last season of team control and the Guardians having gone nowhere in extension talks with him through the years, it is believed that he could be had via trade.
With Thursday being the last day to come to arbitration salary agreements without having to go to a hearing, it was expected that Bieber’s 2024 salary was going to be revealed.
That’s exactly what happened.
“For teams still looking to acquire a front-line pitcher in a trade: Dylan Cease, White Sox: $8 million (2 years of control). Shane Bieber, Cleveland: $13.125 million (one year of control),” MLB insider Bob Nightengale.
For teams still looking to acquire a front-line pitcher in a trade:
Dylan Cease, White Sox: $8 million (2 years of control)
Shane Bieber, Cleveland: $13.125 million (one year of control).
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 11, 2024
Bieber will be making $13.125 million in what could be his last season in Cleveland.
It has been a tremendous ride so far: he has an excellent 3.27 ERA for his career, he won the 2020 AL Cy Young with a magical season, and he was the staff ace for years.
As he has dealt with arm issues in the last year, however, his velocity and strikeout rate have diminished to worrisome levels.
Teams around the league don’t feel he can be an ace at this point, and it has created valuation issues.
Still, even if he can stay for the 2024 campaign and help the Guardians fight for the AL Central, the front office probably would prefer to trade him for offense.
With just one season remaining on his service time clock before reaching free agency and with diminishing skills, getting what they want will be difficult.