Much like Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez before him, Shane Bieber has been a player that is speculated to be dealt by the Cleveland Guardians before he hits free agency. Although Lindor was traded and Ramirez was extended, Biebers injury history and the Guardians depth in their pitching staff makes him a different situation.
The Cardinals seem to be linked to Bieber when his name gets brought up, and for good reason. St. Louis loves acquiring their bigger names via trade, especially when their value is lower. Bieber is still an ace quality pitcher, but his injuries and concerns about velocity make him a bit less valuable than in seasons past.
The former Cy Young award winner is 8-6 with a 3.18 ERA and 9.1 SO per 9 innings, which is lower than in past seasons when it was well above 10. Bieber is under team control through the 2024 season, meaning the Cardinals could have him at an affordable price tag for two seasons before having to make a decision on extending him.
Why would the Guardians do this though as a contending team? Well the club has a history of dealing players if they cannot extend them (Lindor) but will keep stars when they agree to team friendly contracts (Ramirez). If the club is not comfortable extending Bieber or cannot agree to a price with him, they may look to capitalize on his remaining value.
The Guardians have great pitching depth and need bats for their lineup. St. Louis could offer a combination of players like Alec Burleson, Juan Yepez, Brendan Donovan, Lars Nootbaar, among others who could immediately improve the Cleveland lineup. It may require parting with one bigger name than that crew, but it is very possible that a package of multiple young, team controlled bats would entice the Guardians.
For St. Louis, Bieber would have a similar impact on their rotation as Rondon, but come at a cheaper price point for the next few seasons and the club would not have to extend him long term if there are injuries or decline in performance.