RHP Shane Bieber
What seems like forever now, the Cardinals continue to be linked to Cleveland Guardians ace Shane Bieber, and for good reason. The Guardians have a history of trading away star talent while contending like Francisco Lindor, and almost traded away Jose Ramirez before he game them a hometown discount. The club is unlikely to extend Bieber, making him a prime trade candidate at some point.
The 2020 American League Cy Young winner was masterful again in 2022, going 13-8 with a 2.88 ERA in 200 innings of work for the AL Central Champions. Bieber’s velocity took a dip this season, but he still appears to be the kind of guy that can lead a staff to a World Series.
The Cardinals need an ace at the top of their rotation, and like the Rays before, they could offer the Guardians young, impact bats in order to pry away their ace. Bieber has one more year of team control after 2023, giving the Cardinals at least two seasons with the ace before needing to extend him. This feels like the Nolan Arenado situation, where the two will continue to be linked until one day, the trade finally happens.