The MLB rumor mill is churning ahead of the trade deadline. The Cleveland Guardians player often brought up in conversations around the league right now is Shane Bieber, who fits the mold of a veteran on a losing team that playoff contenders will target to give them a boost down the stretch.
Bieber's current elbow injury and performance this year, however, make things very messy. And now it turns out the Guardians have had a change of heart on pursuing a deal for the starting pitcher.
Zack Meisel of the Athletic reports the likelihood of Bieber being dealt is slim-to-none. One source told Meisel there’s "no chance" the team parts with the former Cy Young winner, especially with the uncertainty around his injury.
While it may be frustrating to some fans as the season continues to disappoint, this honestly makes sense. The Guardians are in an unfortunate spot at just under .500; not bad enough to embrace wholesale changes, and not exactly good enough to aggressively pursue upgrades for a playoff run down the stretch. DraftKings Sportsbook even sees the team as longshots to make the playoffs at +240.
Bieber's injury is also a major hurdle with several ripple effects. Cleveland could deal him, but they'd likely be looking at a reduced package because of his health. Elbow fatigue is a major red flag for any starting pitcher, and potential suitors may be scared off completely. Or they'd offer pennies on the dollar, robbing the Guardians of the handsome return they should receive for the two-time All-Star.
Bieber struggles during the 2023 season add another wrench in possible deals. Posting decreased velocity overall and experiencing a decline in his signature curveball are even more reasons contenders could lowball Cleveland.
Frankly, the Guardians have almost nothing to gain from a Bieber deal right now, and a ton to lose. Allowing him a stress-free rehab and all the time he needs to get back to his Cy Young form is simply the best path, especially since he's under control through next season. It's best to table the discussion around Bieber's future in Cleveland until at least this offseason.
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