Now that the Cleveland Guardians officially have a new manager in Stephen Vogt, their first major offseason domino has fallen. Now the front office can get to work on improving a roster that went 76-86 last year and could desperately use some help on offense.
After finishing third last year, the Guardians need to be bold and aggressive this offseason if they want to return to contention. That involves taking some big swings in trades, free agency and contract extensions.
With that in mind, here are three big moves Cleveland should make after hiring Vogt.
1. Trade Shane Bieber
Bieber is going to be a free agent next offseason, which means Cleveland needs to make the most of his final year of team control.
The Guardians have three different routes they could take with Bieber: extend him, ride out his final season, or trade him for prospects.
Of those options, cashing in Bieber for prospects or a big-name hitter probably makes the most baseball sense. The former Cy Young winner took a significant step back in 2023, posting the second-worst ERA (3.80) and highest FIP (3.87) of his career. His strikeout rate also plummeted for the third consecutive season, cratering to 7.5 K/9.
Bieber's declining production suggests that he isn't an ace anymore, but he still has that reputation. Cleveland would be wise to move him now while his trade value is high and he's still viewed as a top-shelf commodity. If he continues to regress or gets hurt again in 2024, the front office won't be able to get much of anything for him if it tries to deal him at the trade deadline.
Keeping Bieber around is just too risky. The Guardians already have an abundance of starting pitching, so they can afford to move on from him, especially if he brings back a much-needed slugger or a promising batch of prospects.
Parting ways with a homegrown star and fan favorite like Bieber is never easy, but it's the best move for the organization.