The Cleveland Guardians are willing to hear offers on both starting pitcher Shane Bieber and closer Emmanuel Clase according to rumors around the league. Jeff Passan of ESPN (subscription required) reported that the Guardians are willing to trade their All-Star closer given the right return. Additionally, it has been long rumored that Shane Bieber will be on the move this offseason.
The St. Louis Cardinals seem to have solved their rotation this offseason, but upgrades could still be made. It doesn't sound like John Mozeliak is done dealing just yet; the bullpen seems to be the most likely place for upgrades, and St. Louis will more than likely make these upgrades through trades rather than spending more in free agency. Cleveland appears to be a good trade partner on paper.
Cleveland's offense was anemic last year. They ranked 20th in MLB in OPS+ in 2023 and were 29th in slugging percentage. Their pitching, conversely, has always been strong. They are able to promote MLB-ready pitchers consistently. St. Louis, on the other hand, could still use pitching upgrades. Their lineup is strong and has the potential to be a top-10 offense in baseball next year. Cleveland is also looking to shed salary, and St. Louis still has room to grow in payroll this year, especially with the backloading of Sonny Gray's contract.
Recent reports have also indicated that Shane Bieber is open to signing an extension with whoever trades for him. Should John Mozeliak finesse a trade for both Bieber and Emmanuel Clase (or just Bieber alone), he could ink Shane Bieber to a long-term contract which is what Mo has done in the past with players like Paul Goldschmidt.
From a contract perspective, Shane Bieber is a free agent after this season, and he is projected to receive around $12 million in salary in 2024 through arbitration. Clase was signed to an extension before the 2022 season. It was a 5-year, $20 million contract. He will be paid $2.9 million in 2024, $4.9 million in 2025, and $6.4 million in 2026. There are two club options for 2027 and 2028 both set at $10 million annually.