Even after Dylan Cease trade, the best trade option for the Cardinals still remains

The pitching staff might be complete to start opening day. But there is always room for improvement, and the Cardinals still have their best option available to do so.
Cleveland Guardians Photo Day
Cleveland Guardians Photo Day / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

The long-awaited news finally broke last week from Jeff Passan. Dylan Cease has finally been traded and what makes it a bombshell announcement is where he was traded to. The San Diego Padres have spent the entire off-season restructuring their roster to compete for 2024 while also cutting costs. After losing several key members of their pitching staff and trading away a future hall of famer in Juan Soto, they utilized their resources to land Dylan Cease and also create more depth going forward.

For the St. Louis Cardinals fans who have been clamoring for the team to acquire Cease.....the dream is dead.

Luckily for you fans, Shane Bieber has always been the best fit for the Cardinals and he is still available. The Cleveland Guardians are hoping to see his value reestablished during the first half of the season so they can acquire position player capital at the trade deadline. The Cardinals are their best suitors with their immense position and player depth they are stashing away.

For now, the team says they are fine and that the new additions will solve many of the 2023 problems with innings pitched. The team however forgot about effectiveness that is needed as a starter. Lynn, Gibson, Mikolas, and Matz are all gambles relying on them to pitch quality starts without giving up runs. We will see how it plays out but given the players' ERAs from 2023, it shows lots of risks.

Bieber is no longer an ace to any pitching staff. The 2020 Cy Young winner achieved his best accolade during a shortened season and since has struggled to provide volume with numerous injuries. His velocity is declining and his ERA has also begun to rise. But what we do know is that he is reliable with his effectiveness. Bieber, in his worst since 2020, pitched a 3.80 ERA which last season over 128 innings pitched. That is credited with an elbow injury that prohibited him from pitching a full season. He comes with risks knowing his prior shoulder injury history and now pitching elbow injury history, but the price to obtain him is much lower than what it would have cost to acquire Dylan Cease.

Bieber is in the final year of his current contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. The Guardians have enough pitching depth to replace Bieber with a cost-controlled player and would much rather offer him to teams to increase their talent from the position player depth. The roll of the dice is to see him pitch for a couple of months. Both the Guardians and the teams looking to acquire will see if he is the ace we once knew he was, or if he is a deprecating asset.

For the Cardinals, they should be in frequent conversations with Cleveland to get this deal done. The risk of gambling on a Cy Young winner is a much better game to play versus gambling on Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson to provide quality starts over a full season.