When the offseason started, the Cleveland Guardians seemed eager to trade Shane Bieber.
Bieber has been an ace for them for years, but his current reality and circumstances inside the team make them more open to dealing him: his performance slipped in 2023, as did his velocity and strikeout rate, he suffered an elbow injury last year, he is entering his last season of team control, he hasn’t extended his contract, and there is very solid organizational depth in place to absorb the blow of trading him.
All those realities and circumstances paved the way for a transaction in which the 2020 AL Cy Young winner packed his bags and played elsewhere.
However, the weeks have gone by, and he remains a Guardian.
At this point, reports indicate he is likely to stay.
“Shane Bieber is considered ‘very unlikely’ to be traded by the Guardians this offseason, per @JonHeyman,” B/R Walk-Off tweeted.
— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) January 12, 2024
This could be one of two things: it could be posturing by Cleveland’s front office to try and get some leverage and increase the quality of the offers he has been getting, or it could be that those offers are so bad that they prefer to keep him and try again closer to the deadline, when there is more of an urgency by contenders.
Either way, we shall find out soon enough.
Bieber, even with the elbow inflammation and the weeks missed last year, posted a sub-4.00 ERA (3.80) and might still be of help as a mid-rotation arm, whether it’s for the Guardians or another team.