MLB Rumors: Guardians Elite Pitcher Becoming Trade Candidate

The Cleveland Guardians are struggling. The season wasn't supposed to go like this for the runaway 2022 AL Central Division champs. They've lost seven of their last 10, and sit at 22-28, 3.5 games back in baseball's weakest division. 

If they can't find their groove and get back to contender status within the next couple of months, ace Shane Bieber will be one of the top trade candidates on the market.  As noted by MLB Insider Jon Heyman, he will be "very coveted". 

He also quotes a rival team as suggesting that the Guardians may indeed be sellers, as they are “very clinical and rational.”

Bieber will become a free agent after next season, a season in which he's slated to earn something in the $15M range in arbitration. And according to other sources, there are no extension talks in the offing, nor does he sound excited to entertain it. He will have a huge free agent deal coming his way in the winter of 2024. 

As a small-market team, the Guardians are very cost-conscious (i.e. "clinical and rational"), and with a ton of high-end pitching prospects in the pipeline, they'll be content to let one of those develop into their latest ace, and maximize a return on Bieber. 

Expect some deep-pocketed teams, like the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers and/or Angels to come a-calling. 

Bieber is a two-time All-Star, with a Cy Young Award from 2020. He finished last season with a 2.88 ERA and a 198:36 K/BB ratio. This season, the strikeouts are way down, but he has a 3.04 ERA with a 49:19 K/BB ratio.

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