#3 - Shane Bieber (Cleveland Guardians)
Let's be clear: Shane Bieber is not an ace anymore and will not require a haul to acquire. If the Guardians somehow look for that, the Cardinals should hang up the phone. Assuming his value on the open market is that of a number three starter with a sizeable contract and one year of control left, his price should be cheap enough to entice the Cardinals.
Bieber is set to make about $12 million in arbitration next year, which is a very affordable number for the Cardinals. His stuff declined in 2023, as he posted a 3.80 ERA in 21 starts with the Guardians and saw his SO/9 dip to 7.5, down from 12.5 SO/9 back in 2021. Bieber was still a Cy Young contender in 2022 with a sub-9 SO/9, so he's shown the ability to pitch at a high level even with diminishing stuff.
Still, the injuries and decline in his stuff have dipped his value significantly. If the Guardians are serious about trading him, a package centered around one of Tyler O'Neill or Dylan Carlson plus a low-level prospect should get the job done, and frankly, it may not even require the prospect.
Bieber cannot be relied on as a number one or two starter in 2024, but the beauty with him is you know he has that upside in him. I also think his floor should be fairly high, as if he's healthy, I cannot imagine him being worse than a number three starter in a rotation. The price to acquire him in terms of trade capital makes the risk feel worth it as well.
Bieber will turn 29 during the 2024 season and is going to want to cash in next offseason. He's going to do everything in his power to prove to Major League Baseball that he's worth a big contract, which makes me even more intrigued by him.