Reports that I've seen up to this point say that the Guardians aren't actively looking to trade Shane Bieber. Part of this makes sense. He hasn't been that healthy leately, so his value isn't at its best. It wasn't that long ago that Bieber was a Cy Young winner (albeit in 2020), but he has the ceiling of one of the top pitchers in all of baseball.
For that reason, it would make sense that they hold on to him. You hope that he gets better this season, and if he does, that it either leads to your team fighting for a playoff spot or being able to offload him at the deadline for a good amount of return.
Here is the issue with that. Bieber is going to be a free agent after the 2024 season. If you think the Mariners have an issue with paying people, that's nothing compared to how often Cleveland has let their stars leave. Well, not leave, but they would rather trade them away than sign them. They perform more like the Marlins and Rays more than anyone else in baseball. Develop, try and hit that window, then reload and reset and try again.
If available, Shane Bieber as a one-year rental sounds wonderful for the Mariners
I really like Bieber as a pitcher. Good walk rate, elite K numbers when he is on, doesn't give up many homers, and has some really impressive seasons under his belt already. Just go check his stats. The Cy Young year. A year with a 3.28 ERA across 214.1 innings with another 200 IP season with a 2.88 ERA. Those are three darn good years. You add that to the Mariners staff?
Castillo. Kirby. Bieber. Gilbert. Miller.
You still have to figure out what to do with Woo, Marco, Hancock, and then Ray comes back. Yeah, that sounds like a good "problem" to have. We've mentioned... well, quite a lot, actually, that the Mariners could sign one of the many seemingly interested pitchers who want to come to Seattle, then trade a pitcher for a hitter as a way of acquiring one, and this is no different.
However, it's done knowing that Bieber is a rental, and that the Mariners wouldn't be signing him back. Sure, it would be great to keep him, but you just can't justify what he is going to want if he has another great season. Not with deals for Kirby and Gilbert closer than they seem.
Then, as always, the important question comes up. What would it take to get Shane Bieber? It's all well and good to say "hey, go get this guy" and the idea of him on the roster sounds amazing. Just look at that rotation again. Is it worth what it would take to get him though? That's the toughest part. Cleveland is usually pretty good on trades, and they are going to want to at least not lose the trade in order to deal him. This is a benefit for whoever has him, that they can over him a QO and get that draft pick from letting him leave. If the Mariners end up in that spot, I think they would have to make an offer somewhat in this range.
Mariners acquire: RHP Shane Bieber
Guardians acquire: RHP Emerson Hancock, 1B Lazaro Montes, RHP Jimmy Joyce
Again, it's tough to figure out what he is worth. Yeah, he is a Cy Young winner. Yeah, we know that ceiling is insane. He is also coming off a 3.80 ERA season with a 3.87 FIP with 128 innings across 21 starts with the lowest K rate of his career (7.5) compared to the 10.6 rate heading into 2023. Would you rather have Bieber over Miller or Woo in 2024? 100%. Would you rather have Miller or Woo with their 5 years of control and low cost compared to a year of Bieber? 100%.
Do I believe they aren't listening to offers? No. I think they may have said it in order to gauge just how badly people want Bieber, and what kind of offer they could get. If the Mariners can get him for an offer like this, all while acquiring an impact bat as well, then i say go do this, and go do it now.