The St. Louis Cardinals can’t stay healthy in their rotation and Shane Bieber could stabilize the group in 2021 and beyond.
OK, hear me out. This is a long shot — and even that may be an understatement – but the St. Louis Cardinals should place a call to Cleveland regarding ace Shane Bieber.
It was not expected that Bieber would be available this year, but Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that Cleveland is open to dealing players off their major-league roster — and listed Bieber and star reliever James Karinchak as possible players who could be available.
Now, I’ve been adamant that the Cardinals should not trade top prospects Nolan Gorman or Matthew Liberatore. But if acquiring Bieber, who is the best pitcher in baseball, becomes a legitimate option that the Cardinals could explore, they need to do everything in their power to make it happen.
Just imagine having Bieber and Jack Flaherty head the rotation for the next couple seasons. That would give the Cardinals arguably the best top-of-the-rotation in baseball and paired with Liberatore (assuming Gorman is the headliner going to Cleveland in any potential deal) would give manager Mike Shildt so much flexibility with the bullpen and rest of the roster.
There are complications to this scenario, however, with one being that Bieber is likely to sign a $300+ million extension before he becomes a free agent and it’s unclear if the Cardinals even have the money available to extend Flaherty. That’s not to mention that Bieber is currently on the injured list with shoulder soreness.
The most likely scenario is that Bieber becomes available in the offseason or next trade deadline. But if he becomes available, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak needs to put the full court press on Bieber. It could completely change the team going forward.