Would the Guardians be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline was briefly overshadowed by another question.
Earlier in the spring, Bieber and the Guardians agreed to a one-year, $6 million deal to avoid arbitration.
That despite the fact that Bieber is still under team control until 2025.
But with Bieber’s numbers down from his career-best two seasons ago, could the Guardians move on from their No. 1?
Don’t rule it out.
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Guardians explored moving on from some of the back-end rotation pieces.
That, and Opening Day starter Shane Bieber:
“Cleveland, as it has done every year for seemingly a decade now, is willing to trade its controllable starting pitching — namely right-handers Zach Plesac and Aaron Civale. Even Shane Bieber could be had, but that’s more about Cleveland’s long-standing willingness to talk about anyone — for the right price. For Bieber, that price is exorbitant.”
It was mildly shocking to see Bieber’s name among that group.
But Bieber is having a down year, at least by his standards.
His 3.39 ERA is the lowest since his rookie campaign and his strikeouts per nine innings is a career low.
But let’s not bless the dead just yet.
Just like McCarty getting thrown to the wolves twice vs the Yankees, I'm not sure what we can expect from a rookie vs the Astros.
— Bryan Shaw (@WxShaw) August 6, 2022
Bieber is still an excellent pitcher.
Further, he brings much needed star power to the top-end of a rotation.
Which is why Cleveland’s asking price was understandably “exorbitant.”
It’s also curious why Cleveland would move on from its pitchers at this moment, presumably in exchange for young prospects.
The Guardians are presently loaded on the farm, with a tricky logjam beginning to form in right field.
And just because Bieber wasn’t dealt in the heat of summer, don’t think he’ll be safe come the dead cold of winter.
According to Zach Rhymer of Bleacher Report, Bieber is a prime candidate to be moved this offseason:
“On paper, the Cleveland Guardians had the best of both worlds going for them ahead of the deadline. Not only a winning record, but also a deep farm system from which to pull shiny trade chips to make deals.
Yet the Guardians have been known to also sell when they buy, and it seems they were willing to do that again this summer. As reported by Passan, they were willing to move controllable pitchers such as Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale and even 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber.
The willingness to trade Bieber, 27, could potentially be there again this winter. His second trip through arbitration might double his $6 million salary, which is already the second-highest figure on the Guardians payroll. As he’s no longer the kind of ace that he was in 2020, it would be understandable if Cleveland would just as soon get him off the books.”
If the Guardians do move Bieber in the winter, there will be no shortage of interest.
Trey Mancini, who the Guardians should’ve traded for at the deadline, has homered twice. #ForTheLand
— Nick Pedone (@NickPedone12) August 6, 2022
It’s incredible that Bieber went from a Cleveland mainstay to potential trade chip in seemingly no time.