MLB GMs believe Shane Bieber will be traded, are the Cardinals a fit?

St. Louis Cardinals v Cleveland Guardians
St. Louis Cardinals v Cleveland Guardians / Ron Schwane/GettyImages

Much like Nolan Arenado before him, it feels like the St. Louis Cardinals and Shane Bieber have been linked together for years. The Cleveland Guardians have remained in contention during the last few seasons, so it never really made sense for the Guardians to move on from their ace.

Now multiple rival General Mangers are expecting Bieber to be traded before this year's trade deadline, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. At the moment, the Cleveland right-hander looks like the clear best option on the market, as many have poured cold water on the idea of Dylan Cease or other top-end starters being available in a trade.

Are the St. Louis Cardinals a fit for a Shane Bieber trade?

On paper, the Cardinals and Guardians seem like a match made in heaven when it comes to a trade for Bieber. The Guardians are struggling this season and historically captilize on the value of their talent before they reach free agency, which Bieber will hit after the 2024 season.

With so many young pitchers coming up in their system and a strong rotation already, the Guardians can use Bieber to upgrade what has been one of the worst offenses in baseball. As of June 2nd, the Guardians have scored just 206 runs, just 6 more runs than the league-worst Athletics.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, are looking to upgrade the top of their rotation in a big way, and have plenty of bats to go around. Even with the resurgence of Miles Mikolas, the Cardinals still need upgrades with the rest of the rotation struggling.

The real question is, would the Cardinals be willing to give up what it will take to acquire Bieber? With another season of control and another solid season under his belt, the Guardians will likely ask for a lot in return for him, especially if he ends up being the best option available. Other contenders will take a crack at trading for Bieber, so will hte Cardinals be willing to beat out those offers?

The Guardians will surely ask for and be told no about Jordan Walker and Nolan Gorman, but could a name like Tommy Edman, Masyn Winn, Brendan Donovan, or Tink Hence be the headliner in a package? And will the Cardinals make the package strong enough to beat out teams like the Dodgers, Rays, Orioles, or other contenders with strong farm systems?

There are concerns around the league about Bieber's arm, though. He has seen a major dip in velocity over the last few seasons, and his underlying metrics are very concerning. Still, until his last start where he got knocked around, his numbers looked great.

Are the Cardinals a fit for Bieber? On paper, yes. But will the market for him develop in such a way that they can acquire him? That remains to be seen.